P.A. Predictions: Wentz Faces Greatest Test Yet – Eagles vs Vikings

Philadelphia Eagles (3-2) vs. Minnesota Vikings (5-0)
Sunday, 1:00 pm EDT at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia
Radio: 94.1
Spread: Vikings -3

The Philadelphia Eagles enter their Sunday matchup with the undefeated Minnesota Vikings on a two-game losing streak – two games oddsmakers and NFL pundits favored them to win. Now the Eagles enter a home game as three-point underdogs to the team helmed by their recently-traded starting quarterback Sam Bradford. While Bradford’s play has been good, the Vikings’ defense is the heart of this team. Minnesota is allowing their opponents to score just 12.6 points per game – the best in the NFL. Last week, the Eagles scored only six points on offense (two field goals), losing despite being spotted both a defensive and a special-teams touchdown. The Washington defense that sacked Carson Wentz five times and held him to 11/22 for 179 yards passing ranks 15th in the league and allows 23.7 points per game.

If the Eagles hope to right the ship, a win against the intimidating Vikings defense would be a tremendous, if unexpected place to start. Conversely, with no “easy wins” on the horizon, a loss Sunday could lead to an extensive losing streak and a premature exit from the race for the NFC East.

As we await kickoff, here are the predictions from the football minds here at Pattison Avenue and what we’ll be watching throughout the game – please follow and harangue them on twitter dot com:

Dan Schmidt (@DanS_SOTS)

The Eagles are an M. Night Shyamalan movie this year.  Every time you think you know where the story is going, BOOM HERE’S A PLOT TWIST OUT OF NOWHERE.  We expected a full season of Sam Bradford leading the team as Carson Wentz watched and learned from the bench – wrong.  We thought they’d get demolished by the Steelers – nope.  We thought for sure they’d take care of business against the Lions and Redskins – false.  Now the entire fanbase is predicting an easy Vikings win over Doug Pederson’s floundering squad.  With 80% of the public taking the Vikings -2.5, I think you know what do to here.  Sammy Sleeves ain’t starting 6-0.  EAGLES 20-17

Hal Greenblatt (@HMGreenblatt)

Well, the last two weeks have not gone very well for our beloved Eagles. The offensive line looked bad and the team looked dysfunctional, racking up the most penalties in the NFL over the last two weeks. No, the last undefeated team in the NFL comes into Lincoln Financial Field, led by Slinging Sammy Sleeves. If I were a beating man, Las Vegas would be telling me to take the Eagles +2.5. But, I’m a realist, and I think the Vikings defense holds Carson Wentz in check, while Bradford makes enough plays to lead Minnesota to a 6-0 start. Vikings, 21-20

Josh Jablonski (@fightinz)

The Eagles couldn’t get anything going on offense against an average defense, in Washington. This does not bode well for a matchup against the toughest defense in the NFL. Rookie offensive lineman Halapoulivaati Vaitai got bullied, last week. If Doug Pederson doesn’t bring some help for him (tight end help was a classic Andy Reid tactic), the Vikings will make Wentz’s day miserable. On the other side, the Minnesota offense doesn’t have a weapon like DeSean Jackson, who torched rookie corner Jalen Mills, repeatedly, but with a defense as stout as there’s, they may not need to score many points. Vikings, 21-13

Brett Krasnov (@brett5355

Too. Many. Penalties.  As easy as it is for us fans to blame one or two guys for a team loss – Ryan Matthews fumble against Detroit, Halapoulivaati Vaitai as a failed back-up for Lane Johnson against DC last week, Jason Kelce‘s less than Pro Bowl form all season- for me it has been a team-wide lack of discipline that has led to the last two losses in particular. Near or over 100 yards in penalties is not the fault of one guy, one unit, or even a poor reffing crew,  but a systemic failure that goes all the way up the coaching staff. I am getting the sinking feeling that we have been dosed by some bad green kool-aid, and as much as I like Carson Wentz, and some of the other young talent on this team, I do not see the Eagles, right now, keeping up with a proven good squad that is the undefeated Minnesota Vikings. Much like my Temple Owls pick this week, I have to go against these Birds for the first time this week, and maybe the reverse black cat jinx I put on the Owls will replicate itself. Vikings, 28-14

Zach Bates (@ZachBatesSJSD)

I think all my colleagues have hit the nail on the head. The penalties are killing this team. Not having a better back up for Lane Johnson than Halapoulivatti Vaitai, when the team damn well knew he was getting a suspension is killing him. Ryan Matthews not running with the ball correctly against Detroit. Jason Kelce acting like a jackass all season. This game is pulling at my heartstrings, because I never want to vote against my beloved Eagles. But somehow Sam Bradford isn’t doing terribly for the Vikings. It helps his defense is the best in the league. But for him to go 6-0, the Eagles ‘D’ is isn’t terrible either. Maybe Vaitai will get it together and Carson Wentz won’t eat the grass five times. I like Dan’s philosophy when 80% of the public believes the Vikings will start 6-0, I think the Birds will moved to 4-2 and get back on the right foot. This game comes down to Caleb Sturgis and a Field Goal. Eagles, 24-21

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