The Minnesota Vikings will be looking to kickstart their season when they visit the Philadelphia Eagles for this week’s installment of Thursday Night Football.
The Vikings fell to an agonizing 20-17 defeat against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their season opener and will be looking to bounce back in Philly.
Meanwhile, the Eagles will attempt to remain unbeaten as they seek a second successive Super Bowl appearance. Despite not being at their best, Philadelphia managed to get over the line with a 25-20 win against the New England Patriots in Week 1.
With both teams looking to improve from their season openers, there will be all to play for at Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday night.
How to watch
The game will be streamed on Amazon Prime and FUBO.
Fans outside of the US can also follow the action via the NFL’s Game Pass on DAZN.
What we learned from Week 1
Eagles not soaring just yet
Expectations were high for the Eagles heading into the new season. Led by star quarterback Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia made it to Super Bowl LVII after beating the San Francisco 49ers in the National Football Conference (NFC) Championship game.
While the Eagles lost to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs on the big occasion, the young team showed out in a thrilling matchup, with Philly’s offense particularly effective on the night.
However, in the Week 1 win against the Patriots, the Birds struggled to get it going.
The Eagles got off to a flying start through Darius Slay’s 70-yard pick-6. DeVonta Smith then added another touchdown late on in the first quarter as Philadelphia took a 16-0 lead after the opening quarter.
Outside of the frenzied opening 15 minutes, the Eagles had to rely on kicker Jake Elliott for the remainder of their point tally as their attacking impetus fizzled out against a tough Patriots defense.
Philadelphia will know it got away with one at Gillette Stadium and will need to improve if it is to go one further than last year’s success.
Vikings unable to ransack the win
After losing to the Buccaneers in their home opener, the Vikings now head to Philadelphia with a tough task ahead of themselves.
Minnesota will consider the 20-17 loss against Tampa Bay as an opportunity missed. The home side passed up on plenty of opportunities to assert its dominance before ultimately falling to a Chase McLaughlin field goal which secured the win for the Bucs.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins threw for 344 yards and two touchdowns but will be disappointed that one interception meant his team could not push on and ended up proving costly.
Tied at 10 and approaching the end of the first half, the Vikings were in prime position to score a touchdown just before the interval, but Cousins’ pass was intercepted near the goal line.
“There’s no question that we would’ve loved to finish that drive with a touchdown, but [we] always want [Cousins] to be aggressive, play what he sees, and he did a lot of really good things yesterday as well to help us stay in the football game – despite the turnovers and the penalties being so favored critically against us,” Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell told reporters at a press conference.
Cousins will look to shake this off as he heads into Week 2.
What to look out for?
Jefferson vs Slay
If the Vikings are to upset the odds against the Eagles, they will need to get star wide receiver Justin Jefferson involved as much as possible.
Jefferson, the reigning NFL offensive player of the year, started the season on fire. The 24-year-old had seven receptions for 138 yards in the first half against the Bucs but could only manage two more receptions for 12 yards in the second.
Now tasked with a battle against one of the league’s premier cornerbacks in Darius Slay, Jefferson will need to bounce back with a strong showing.
Jefferson will likely line up against Slay on Thursday night and, in last year’s fixture, the Eagle CB kept Jefferson quiet with a brilliant defensive display.
This could prove to be the key matchup of Thursday Night Football as the two stars do battle in Philadelphia.
Teething problems for the Eagles’ offense
Despite escaping with the win on Sunday night, the Eagles did not play like a team who had earlier in the year been to the Super Bowl on the offensive side of the ball.
The Patriots outperformed the Eagles in two key areas – 382 total yards to 251 and 24 first downs to 17 respectively – with Philadelphia’s offense appearing stagnant on multiple occasions. The second quarter was particularly disastrous, with the Birds only mustering two yards on five drives and allowing their opponents to rack up two unanswered touchdowns.
Head coach Nick Siriani admitted after the game that he could have utilized the preseason more effectively by involving more of the starting unit.
“I’ll definitely re-evaluate some of the preseason stuff next year,” he said. “If I had to do it over again right now, I would have played starters one or two drives in the preseason.”
Philly star Hurts made it clear that “winning is the only thing that matters” but also noted that he was frustrated by his team’s inefficiency.
“I think we obviously have things that we need to work on and have to be better in those situations when the ball is in my hands, and I take full accountability for that,” said the 25-year-old. “But the good thing about it is we get the opportunity to play on Thursday.”
Hurts and Co. will be hoping that the Eagles’ offense can take flight in Thursday’s primetime slot or else the Vikings will head back home having felt that they successfully pillaged Philadelphia.