As the Eagles’ prepare for another (and hopefully the final) week without wide receiver DeSean Jackson in the lineup, the offense overall is looking for a bounce-back performance after Sunday’s game vs. the Jets. That’s not to suggest that the offense played terribly, but the 31-6 win was certainly the defense’s day to shine. While it’s also likely the Eagles didn’t pull out all the stops play-calling wise vs. the 0-3 Jets, Doug Pederson knows his group didn’t play up to it’s potential. A date with the Vikings this week is certain to require a much more explosive performance.
This Sunday, the Eagles return to US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis for the first time since the single greatest day in franchise history last February 4. Similar to that game vs. the Patriots, this game could easily turn into a track meet between the Eagles and the Vikings. The Vikings bounced back from their early-season offensive woes and dominated the Giants on Sunday. The Eagles just put 34 points on the Packers in Green Bay less than two weeks ago. They also have a secondary that will allow points to be scored when facing a quarterback not named Luke Falk.
Without Jackson coming to the rescue in time for Suday’s game, the Eagles need one of their weapons to step up and help get the offense back to its explosive self. Paging the Eagles’ WR1 – Alshon Jeffery.
In Jeffery’s three full games this year that he’s played, he’s posted modest receiving lines of 5 receptions/49 yards/1 touchdown, 3/38/1, and 6/52/0. Now healthy and with his calf issue one more week in the past, there’s no better game for Jeffery to break out with a signature performance than this week.
In 10 career regular season games vs. the Vikings, Jeffery has posted 47 catches for 724 yards and 7 touchdowns. In 2013, Jeffery’s breakout season with the Bears, he had a 12-249-2 day in Minnesota. The next season, he posted 11-135-1 in a home win vs. the Vikings. In 2015, he posted 10-116-1 in a loss. In the 2017 NFC Championship Game, Jeffery caught 5 passes for 85 yards and 2 touchdowns in the 38-7 rout of Minnesota.
Not to mention, the last time Jeffery visited US Bank Stadium, he set the tone with a 34-yard touchdown reception to put the Eagles on the board in Super Bowl 52.
Whether it’s something in the Minneapolis air or something when Jeffery sees purple and gold lined up across from him, the Eagles are going to need Jeffery to continue to bring his best this Sunday. Without the vertical threat that Jackson brings, it would certainly help Carson Wentz to rely on the dependability and physicality of Alshon to allow the offense to hum in a game where the Eagles will almost assuredly have to light up the scoreboard to win.
Last year, Jeffery only had 2 catches for 39 yards in the Eagles’ loss to Minnesota – a game where Wentz’s back was in so much pain he couldn’t sit down on the sideline. The Wentz/Jeffery combo is due for a bounce-back not only vs. the Vikings, but due for a big day in general, as Jeffery hasn’t had a 100-yard receiving game with Wentz at QB since Week 4 of last season. A big day from the duo will certainly help the Eagles start this brutal stretch of schedule off on the right foot.