For every NFL team, there are games in which become indicators of how good a team really is, or isn’t. When the season is over, fans look back at certain games as indicators that their team was a power or an imposter.
Minnesota’s game versus Philadelphia on Sunday is one of those pivotal games.
The Eagles are getting their act together. In the last two weeks, they’ve won at Green Bay (34-27) and punished a weak New York Jets team at home, 31-6. Though they registered only one sack against Green Bay, after the Eagles scored touchdowns on three straight second-quarter possessions, the Eagles defense had Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers unsettled during the rest of the game.
Last Sunday, the Eagles sacked the Jets 10 times and scored two defensive touchdowns. Like the Vikings, the Eagles now sit 3-2.
Zach Ertz is a top five tight end, catching 12 passes (15 targets) during the last two games. If he has another productive game, the Vikings’ defense may struggle to get off the field. Carson Wentz played this best game of his career in a nationally televised game at Green Bay. Wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey caught six balls last week in the romp over the Jets. Minnesota fans know the damage he’s done against the Vikings when he was with the Bears.
Philadelphia begins a murderous six-game stretch against teams that enter Week 6 with winning records. After Minnesota, the Eagles are at Dallas and at Buffalo. Then they are at home against the Bears and New England before hosting Seattle. The combined record of Philadelphia’s next six opponents is 23-8.
The Vikings have an easier stretch in their next six games. After the Eagles, the Vikings are at Detroit, home against Washington, at Kansas City, at Dallas and home against Denver. Those opponents are a combined 13-15-1.
Are the Vikings going to contend for a playoff spot this season, or muddle through their last 11 games?
Sunday, the Vikings will give us their answer.
—Roger Dier is a Wisconsin-based contributor to PurplePTSD.com.