Vikings players got the news last night— Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart will not play. But losing their two best running backs for this one only makes the Vikings offense that much more of a mystery to solve for the Eagles today.
Week 15 NFC matchup:
1 p.m. Sunday (EST), Minneapolis, Minnesota
Mall America Field (HHH Metrodome), turf, dome
Philadelphia Eagles (8-5) vs. Minnesota Vikings (3-9-1)
TV/Radio: FOX (national broadcast), WIP-FM 94.1, WIP-AM 610, Sirius
AccuScore mainframe simulations done without Peterson and Gerhart in the lineups favor the Eagles by 6.5 points, with an Over/Under of 51 points.
AccuScore has been amazingly —well, accurate!— the past 6 weeks in calling the outcome for the Eagles. But you gotta play the game, and the Vikings will be pumped to put on a good show for a sold-out Metrodome audience.
Cary Williams, who injured his hamstring during practice this week, is active for the Eagles.
The news isn't as good for Earl Wolff, who is out for the fifth straight game. Patrick Chung will start in his place.
In addition to Wolff, Matt Barkley, Curtis Marsh, Matthew Tucker, Najee Goode, Matt Tobin, Dennis Kelly are all out.
To set up a short preview, I called upon our old friend Dave Stoessel, from Wilmington, Delaware, who is still going strong with his Eagles Addict column….Here's Dave:
"Hopefully Chip Kelly’s leadership will influence the Philadelphia Eagles to not take the Vikings lightly. Minnesota is not as bad as you think and could give the Eagles a run for their money if they’re not focused.
"The Vikes are 3-9-1, have a bottom-ranked defense in just about all statistical categories and have instability at the game’s most important position (QB). However, despite all that, this team has been playing better in recent weeks.
"Their past three games have all come down to the wire and they were in position to win all of them. They tied Green Bay, beat Chicago in OT and then narrowly lost last week by three points to Baltimore in one of the craziest final two minutes of a football game you’ll ever see.
"I’m actually a little more concerned about getting “surprised” by the [Vikings'] passing game.Greg Jennings, Jerome Simpson and Cordarrelle Patterson don’t exactly have eye-popping stats, but each of them has the ability to make a big play.
"Jennings is “old reliable” and could be a major factor in the red zone and on key third downs. Simpson is somewhat like Todd Pinkston used to be, a fast outside guy who can hit the occasional deep ball. Patterson is a rookie and starting to come into his own.
"And Patterson, by the way, could be the X-factor. He’s a big guy, great speed and the Vikes are starting to get creative with him to find ways to get the ball in his hands…"
"Beware Minnesota’s top-ranked special teams! Even though we can blame the snow, last week the Eagles’ special teams gave up two return touchdowns. Now they face a Vikings unit that has three return TDs on the season. Patterson is the biggest threat as he averages 33.3 yards per kickoff return and has scored two TDs. Then, punt-returner Marcus Sherels has a healthy average of 13.1 yards per return and has also scored a TD."
"I’d hate for an otherwise solid performance on offense and defense [by the Eagles] to be overshadowed by lapses on special teams. Don’t give up the killer return and don’t give the crowd anything to be excited about."
Thanks, Dave… I check him out daily at www.eaglesaddict.com…..
Okay, the stockings are hung by the chimney, Eagle Nut's "Angry Bird" is dusted off, LG3 the lucky Doberman has a fresh bowl of green-dyed kibble, and Miss Chippewa 2013 is taking her seat in the lower box level of the Metrodome.
It was a relatively short road trip for Miss Chippewa from Saginaw, Michigan to Minneapolis, and we were able to get her a frequent-flyer discount for a suite at the Radisson.
The EYE saved a fortune in her travel costs. She's 5-for-5 as our good luck charm representing us live at the game. And this week she's a bargain. See, we're already winning…
Let the Phans who Care take over the microphone…