• Bet the over 49: This total crept up a point after the James Bradberry news, and both teams field an effective pass rush. However, there should be a lot of passing in this game, given the strengths of the two secondaries compared to the strengths of the receivers playing against them.
• DeVonta Smith over 62.5 receiving yards: Smith went under his receiving prop in Week 1, but he ran 37 routes and saw 10 targets — high numbers for a wide receiver.
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LINE MOVEMENT & GAME OVERVIEW
The Minnesota Vikings come into a short-week road game having just lost the season opener at home to a team widely considered one of the worst in the league. And they're set to play a Philadelphia Eagles team that covered the spread on the road against a Bill Belichick-coached defense.
This line opened with the Eagles favored by 7.5 points, but that has moved down to 6 after news that outside cornerback James Bradberry would be unable to play. Bradberry's absence leaves the inexperienced Josh Jobe and rookie Kelee Ringo to fill the role opposite Darius Slay.
Last week, Patriots quarterback Mac Jones put up 300 yards and three touchdowns — admittedly on 54 passing attempts — on this Eagles secondary with Bradberry playing. Now, the Bradberry-less secondary has to contain Justin Jefferson, the best offensive weapon in the league, along with high-end rookie Jordan Addison and top-five tight end T.J. Hockenson — things could get a bit messy defensively for the Eagles.
Philadelphia's saving grace is its defensive line and how its interior rushers — including Jalen Carter, Fletcher Cox and Jordan Davis — stack up against this troublesome-looking Vikings interior offensive line.
The Pats run game was almost non-existent in the opener against the Eagles, and the Vikings couldn’t muster up any rushing offense against the Bucs. This Vikings team could become rather one-dimensional for the second week in a row.
As far as the Eagles are concerned, their offense will be their strength against a secondary that is as weak as their own. The zone-heavy Vikings did a good job of containing the Tampa Bay offense, limiting it to 2.5 yards per carry and 4.6 yards per pass, but there is a big difference between the Eagles’ offensive line and quarterback situation and the Bucs' — and that should be telling.
Over 49 (-110 Caesars)
This total crept up a point after the James Bradberry news, and both teams field an effective pass rush. However, there should be a lot of passing in this game, given the strengths of the two secondaries compared to the strengths of the receivers playing against them. And although the pace of play probably will not be at the level you would like to cover a total in the high 40s, there is a high probability of multiple explosive plays.
Given Minnesota's matchups on Thursday Night Football, I doubt we see this team play anything other than zone coverage, but DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown are two of the league’s best route runners, and they will be able to exploit the holes in zone coverage at a higher rate than deep-ball specialist Mike Evans.
I expect consistent offense between two teams with significant advantages over their defensive counterparts.
DEVONTA SMITH: Over 62.5 receiving yards (-115 BetMGM)
Smith went under his receiving prop in Week 1, but he ran 37 routes and saw 10 targets — high numbers for a wide receiver.
Smith has a lower average depth of target and runs a slightly shallower route tree than A.J. Brown, which suits playing against zone coverage. His drop-off in yards per route run between coverages is less extreme, too: He averages 2.14 yards per route against man and 1.71 against zone, compared to Brown's 3.27 against man and 2.14 against zone.
The Eagles passed the ball on 63% of first and second downs in Week 1, and given the strengths and weaknesses of the Vikings' defense, I would be surprised if it is not near that number again, especially early in the game.
Alexander Mattison: Under 49.5 rushing yards (-115 BetMGM)
The interior offensive line is a major concern for the Vikings, especially against an Eagles defensive front that gave up just 3.0 yards per carry to the Patriots in the opening game.
The Vikings are almost a touchdown underdog on the road against a power-packed offense, having just had their run game stuffed against a weaker team. This game can potentially lead the Vikings into becoming a one-dimensional offense, more so if they are chasing scores, which is a very possible scenario.