Eagles vs Vikings: 5 intriguing storylines for Monday Night Football

Lane Johnson #65, Jalen Hurts #1, and Kenneth Gainwell #14, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Lane Johnson #65, Jalen Hurts #1, and Kenneth Gainwell #14, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Philadelphia Eagles
Justin Jefferson, 18, Minnesota Vikings (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

Can the Eagles stop Justin Jefferson? Maybe keeping him off of the field is the answer.

Perhaps the biggest key to an Eagles’ victory lies in the emphasis that must be placed on stopping Justin Jefferson. For as long as he plays, there will be this sentiment that he’s the star that Philly let get away. The Birds passed on him, instead taking Jalen Reagor in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Now, they’re teammates. Jefferson, Reagor, and the Vikings will be looking to rub salt in the wound.

If all of that isn’t enough to motivate Philadelphia, we may need to check everyone’s pulse.

The Eagles have a potent defense that should be able to bring pressure with their front four for the majority of the game. That didn’t produce a ton of sacks in Week 1, but you get the idea in theory. Perhaps said pressure will give the Eagles the freedom to double-team Jefferson. Maybe Darius Slay will be allowed to roam with Jefferson and dedicate James Bradberry and Avonte Maddox to other assignments, like Adam Thielen and K.J. Osborn.

Covering the other team’s tight end has been a weakness in Jonathan Gannon’s defensive scheme, but with the talent that the Eagles have accumulated at the position, that shouldn’t be an issue. Might Darius Slay and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson double-team Jefferson? That seems to contradict J.G.’s nature, but it’s a thought.

Who knows? Even if Gannon’s defensive scheme gets exposed by Jefferson (or Gannon doesn’t opt to run with an extra corner in the slot all night), this game can still be won by the Eagles’ offense as long as they remain patient.

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If the Eagles run the football, play physically, dominate the time of possession, and keep Minnesota’s offense off of the field, even if Minnesota manages to find themselves up on the scoreboard at points of this one, the defense will wear down if Philadelphia feeds them a heavy dose of the league’s best rushing attack.

The Vikings are a tough matchup. Still, even with that being said, with the assistance of a raucous home crowd, the Eagles might be too much for Minnesota to handle.