It’s time to continue our Lindy’s Best NFL Locks Today series. For Thursday’s expert NFL picks, we are taking a look at props on a couple of pass catchers for Week 2 Thursday Night Football action of the 2023 season, with the Minnesota Vikings traveling to take on the Philadelphia Eagles.
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Expert NFL Picks Today: Vikings-Eagles | September 14
Minnesota Vikings-Philadelphia Eagles (49.5 Game Total)
I am not sure what the Vikings organization did to deserve this treatment, but for a second straight season they’ll be taking on the Eagles in their building for a Week 2 primetime showdown. That 2022 iteration was a full-on beatdown, as Philadelphia dominated all three phases, primetime Kirk Cousins primetime Kirk Cousins-ed, and the Eagles walked away with the convincing 24-7 win. Obviously, there’s been some turnover for both offenses, as the running game looks drastically different for the Eagles, and T.J. Hockenson plus rookie Jordan Addison were not on the Vikings last time they visited the Link.
But let’s focus on the Eagles side of the ball, where the first prop I’m targeting is a standard play on receiving production out of tight end Dallas Goedert. The pride of South Dakota State has seen an elevated role at the position since the Eagles parted ways with Zach Ertz, averaging 10.5 yards per target in 2021 and 2022, culminating in over 1,500 yards receiving the past two seasons. That puts him at an average of 55.6 receiving yards per game in that span, which would grade out decently well considering the 47.5-yard receiving prop he has listed for tonight, even when taking his projected median outcome — which grades out a few yards lower than this 55.6 mean number — into consideration.
Still, after seeing just one target last week that resulted in goose eggs across the board, Goedert still played a robust 92% of the offensive snaps. The Week 1 game script was also something to take note of, as Philadelphia played conservative football after getting out to an early 16-0 lead against the Patriots, averaging just 5.2 yards per reception on 33 total pass attempts. And in a game with a total that’s climbed all the way to 49.5 in the aftermath of some Eagles defensive injuries we’ll get to later, the offensive expectation for Jalen Hurts and Co. goes up relative to Week 1’s closing total of 44.
But revisiting last year’s matchup of these two teams: Goedert actually led the Eagles with 82 receiving yards from his five receptions, an average of 16.4 yards per catch. And the Vikings cornerback crew this time around is equally as sketchy, plus linebackers Ivan Pace Jr. and Jordan Hicks — despite solid run-stopping abilities — received well-below-average pass coverage grades from PFF in Week 1’s loss to the Buccaneers. Should that continue, Goedert’s ability to play both inline and the slot could wreak havoc on the middle of the field and exploit a defense that will be targetable through the air all season long. In other words, the role hasn’t changed for Goedert, so expect positive regression in this Week 2 matchup where the Eagles should lean on his skill set and abilities far more than they did in Week 1 against a stout Patriots secondary. Take the over on his receiving yards at any number up to 49.5 at the standard juice.
Still, my favorite prop in this game by far is the over on Vikings rookie Jordan Addison’s 41.5 receiving yards prop. The Eagles secondary took two major hits, as safety Reed Blankenship (torso) and superstar cornerback James Bradberry (concussion) will both be out for Thursday’s tilt. Now, I still have my doubts that the offensive line of the Vikings can slow down the absurd Eagles pash rush that got even better this year after adding rookie Jalen Carter, who looked like the steal of the draft on Sunday. But after a staggering 88.9% of the Vikings’ yardage came by way of the pass in Week 1, there is little doubt that Justin Jefferson, Hockenson and Addison will get ample opportunity to put up numbers on Thursday.
That’s where Addison becomes my premier play at any of the 41.5- to 44.5-yard receiving numbers that books have listed. In Week 1, Addison saw only 56% of snaps and a mere 14.3% target share yet still accumulated a 28.1% share of the team’s air yards. That indicates that when he is on the field, he’s going to get premium targets that should rack up yardage. And with Bradberry out successfully blanketed Jefferson in 2022’s matchup, the resources utilized to slow down Minnesota’s No. 1 wide receiver should open up space for their No. 2. That makes the over on his 41.5 receiving yards a lock for me in a game the Vikings will need all the help they can get from their ancillary pass catches, in particular Addison.