Can the Eagles solve Kirk Cousins?

Eliot Shorr-Parks
October 09, 2019 - 8:47 am
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To Eagles fans, Kirk Cousins is an overrated quarterback that is the definition of average — at best. 

To the Eagles, however, Cousins has been a thorn in their side that always seems to get the best of them. 

Related: Howard Eskin vs. Richard Sherman

Perception aside, the reality heading into the Eagles matchup against the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday is that they have always seemed to have a tough time with Cousins. He beat them four-straight times from 2015 through 2016, including a win in 2015 that essentially ended the Eagles’ season and gave the Washington Redskins the division title. 

Last season, with the Vikings, Cousins came into Philadelphia and beat the Eagles 23-21, throwing for 301 yards, 1 touchdown, no interceptions in a 23-21 win. Cousins dominated the Eagles from the jump, completing nine-of-11 passes in the first quarter and helping the Vikings jump out to a 17-3 lead at halftime. 

Overall, Cousins is 5-3 with 17 touchdowns, five interceptions and a 101.2 quarterback rating in his career against the Eagles — and there is reason to think he will keep up that success.

Although Cousins and the Vikings’ passing offense has been very inconsistent this season, the case can be made he goes into Sunday with the best matchups he has ever had against the Eagles. Cousins will be working with Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs agains an extremely banged up secondary. Even if Sidney Jones does play, the Eagles will be without all three of their cornerbacks expected to start going into the season. 

Considering Jones has had issues staying on the field, chances are Cousins, Thielen and Diggs will be going against Rasul Douglas, Craig James and Orlando Scandrick — perhaps the worst set of Eagles’ cornerbacks he has ever faced. While there is reason to be confident in Douglas, neither Scandrick or James have been tested yet this season, considering they went against the awful Jets passing attack last week. 

The issues the Eagles could face in the secondary puts even more pressure on the defensive line to make sure Cousins doesn’t have time to sit back in the pocket. Outside of just stopping Dalvin Cook and the running game, the defensive line has to take advantage of a bad Vikings offensive line. According to Football Outsiders, the Vikings are 24th this season in pass protection, and have allowed 11 sacks in the Vikings’ five games. The Eagles shouldn’t expected to have another 10-sack performance, but they should be expected to get consistent pressure on Cousins, giving their secondary the help it needs against a talented group of receivers. 

If the defensive line doesn’t get after Cousins, it is hard to see the secondary holding up — and Cousins will likely continue to have the success he normally does against the Eagles. 

You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!

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