Monday, December 29, 2014

What we're watching: Eagles-Vikings

Our weekly look at what we're watching in the Eagles game:

What we're watching: Eagles-Vikings

Our weekly look at what we're watching in the Eagles game:

1. Yo, Adrian: Adrian Peterson is going to get his yards, even against a red-hot Eagles run defense that has held opposing ballcarriers to 3.11 yards per attempt the last seven games. But they need to limit his long runs just like they did last year when 14 of his 20 rushing attempts against the Eagles went for 2 or fewer yards and just two produced more than 8 yards.

2. More charity: In their playoff-clinching win over the Cowboys, the Eagles forced five turnovers. This week, they’ll face a Vikings offense that had the fourth most giveaways (31) in the league and has the most of any team in the playoffs. While Peterson is the league’s best running back, he’s also a fumbler. He has put the ball on the carpet nine times this season, the most of any running back in the league.

3. Remember the run: The Vikings own the league’s best run defense. They’ve held opponents to 76.9 rushing yards per game and 3.3 yards per carry. While the Eagles are going to throw the ball a lot more Sunday than they did vs. Dallas, they have to keep the Vikings honest with the run. In the Vikings’ six losses, their opponents averaged 31.7 rushing attempts. In their 10 wins: 18.1.

4. Four touchdowns a day keeps Akers away: The Eagles have struggled in the red zone this season. While they were 3-for-3 inside the 20 vs. Dallas last week, but were 2-for-12 before that and ranked 22nd in the league. The Vikings own the NFC’s best red-zone defense. They’ve given up just 20 touchdowns in 47 inside-the-20 tests (42.6 percent).

5. Rookie returners gone wild: The Vikings’ coverage units aren’t very good. The Eagles return men — rookies DeSean Jackson and Quintin Demps — are. The Vikings are dead last in the league in punt coverage (14.9) and have given up a league-high four punt returns for TDs. Jackson will get his opportunities Sunday. Chris Kluwe has the fourth highest percentage of punts returned (57.5) in the league.

Paul Domowitch Daily News NFL Columnist
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Paul Domowitch Daily News NFL Columnist
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