Vikings to try and cool off Eagles
The NFL’s two leading rushers were expected to face off Sunday, but only LeSean McCoy may be on the field when the Philadelphia Eagles visit the Minnesota Vikings. McCoy, who leads the league with 1,305 rushing yards, is coming off a franchise-record 217-yard rushing performance against Detroit last week. On the other hand, the NFL’s second-leading rusher, Adrian Peterson, ran for only 13 yards against Baltimore last week before spraining his foot — an injury that likely will keep him out of action this weekend.
The Eagles have won five straight games to take a one-game lead over Dallas in the NFC East and, as much as McCoy was hoping to face the reigning NFL MVP, his focus remains on helping Philadelphia reach the playoffs in Chip Kelly’s first season as coach. “When I saw them on the schedule, my eyes got big,” McCoy said. “I thought it was a chance to go 1-on-1 with one of the best backs. You always want to compete and go against one of the elite guys in the NFL. But the big challenge really is just going to Minnesota and getting a win. We have a lot to play for and this is big game.” The Vikings, meanwhile, hope to rebound from one of the most devastating defeats in franchise history - last week’s wild 29-26 defeat to the Ravens.
TV: Noon, FOX. LINE: Eagles -4.5. O/U: 51
ABOUT THE EAGLES (8-5): The Eagles did not score a single point during the fourth quarter in any of the first four games of their five-game winning streak, but they erupted for 28 fourth-quarter points against the Lions last Sunday. Nick Foles (NFL-leading 120.0 quarterback rating) threw for a touchdown and rushed for another last week, but his near-record run ended at 19 touchdowns before throwing his first interception of the season. The Eagles have not allowed more than 21 points in a game since getting demolished by Denver 52-20 back on Sept. 29 - a run of nine straight games for defensive coordinator Billy Davis’ improving unit.
ABOUT THE VIKINGS (3-9-1): Minnesota and Baltimore exchanged leads six times in the fourth quarter, including five lead changes in the final 2:05, before the Vikings fell on Joe Flacco’s touchdown pass to Marlon Brown with four seconds left. Minnesota has allowed the third-most passing yards in the NFL, although defensive end Brian Robison has done a nice job pressuring the quarterback of late, recording six sacks in his last six games. On the other side of the ball, quarterback Matt Cassel will get another start for Minnesota and knows that he might have an expanded role on Sunday, saying “You have to anticipate that in the NFL there’s going to be injuries and it could be somebody as pivotal as Adrian Peterson ... but you just have to make adjustments and move forward and execute your part of the game plan.”
1. McCoy, who needs five more rushing yards to set a career high, also leads the NFL with 1,744 yards from scrimmage.
2. Not only is Peterson’s status up in the air for Sunday, but Vikings backup RB Toby Gerhardt (hamstring) may also miss the game, leaving Matt Asiata (three carries last season, none this season) as a candidate to be Minnesota’s starting running back.
3. Philadelphia’s last seven wins include only one victory by fewer than eight points - a 24-21 triumph versus Arizona earlier this month.
PREDICTION: Eagles 37, Vikings 17