The Eagles are 3-2, and any Eagles fan who is disappointed with that record is a bit off their rocker.
Sure, they lost back-to-back games to opponents they should have defeated handily in the Lions and Redskins— they made horrible unforced errors and fell from first to third place in the NFC East in two weeks.
But with a rookie head coach, rookie quarterback and a variety of new faces, many expected this season to be a full rebuildprior to Week 1.
The Eagles can get right back into the mix in the East with a win in Week 7. There’s only one problem — they are hosting the best team and defense in the entire NFL.
Here are three of the more intriguing matchups to watch for when things kick off between the Eagles and Vikings Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. on FOX:
Eagles offense vs. Vikings defense
The Vikings defense has allowed the second fewest total yards in the NFL and the least points per game.
They lead all NFL teams in turnover differential at plus-11 (the Eagles are third at plus-6). Philadelphia’s offense has struggled in recent weeks against lackluster defenses in Detroit and Washington. If they can’t find a potent attack Sunday against Minnesota, it could be a long day.
“They have got great personnel on defense,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said. “They are healthy and they are coming off a bye, obviously. They fly off the ball now. This is a good defense and a good defense for a reason.
“It’s one of those schemes where they don’t do a lot. They kind of line up and play defense. But they are sound in what they do. Again, it’s an aggressive style. They let their defensive line just come off the ball and put pressure on the quarterback. They have two good [defensive] ends. We’ve got to be ready for another test up front.”
Carson Wentz vs. Sam Bradford
Wentzand Bradford obviously won’t be on the playing field at the same time, and they’ll more than likely have a warm pre-game embrace prior to kick off. After all, the two helped eachother get better all preseason long prior to Bradford’s surprising 11th hour trade to Minnesota for a first round pick.
But somewhere, deep down, both quarterbacks have a little extra motivation to succeed — and perhaps to best their former teammate in Sunday’s battle.
“There’s pressure every week,” Pederson said. “I get the fact that the trade happened. But our focus is within our building and the guys we have and getting our guys ready to play.I’m not going to put any added pressure on Carson. I’m just going to let him play.
“I know there’s going to be a lot of peripheral stuff probably said or written about these two. Whoever plays or whoever wins, this one played better than that one, this and that and the other, and the decisions – and I get all that. But the decision has been made and [Carson] is our guy, and we’re going to get him ready to play each and every week.”
Eagles vs. themselves
It’s no secret that the Eagles have been bitten by the penalty bug this season. Between getting flagged 51 times (27 of them in the last two games alone), dropping well-thrown Wentz passes and making other mental mistakes, the Eagles could very well have a record of 5-0 — by only fixing things they can control.
Against the Vikings, a team that has been flagged relatively fewer times at 37, Philly will really need to clean things up.
“It just comes down to the communication from me to the team [and] to the staff,” the coach said, “disciplining ourselves in practice [and] focusing on the little things. The little things will take care of big things.”
The Eagles’ last two games were on the road, in hostile environments. One would guess the team will be better penalty-wise in front of home fans at Lincoln Financial Field.