Week 2: Eagles vs. 49ers Preview and Prediction

Date & Time: September 19th-1:00pm

Location: Philadelphia, PA – Lincoln Financial Field

Network: Fox

  • Eagles Injury Report
    • OUT
      • S Rodney McLeod (knee)
      • Marcus Epps (concussion)
  • 49ers Injury Report
    • OUT
      • LB Dre Greenlaw (groin)
      • CB Emmanuel Moseley (knee)
      • DE Arik Armstead (adductor)
      • LB Marcell Harris (oblique)
      • DT Javon Kinlaw (knee)

Matchup Preview

The Jalen Hurts and Nick Sirianni era got off to a hot start with a 32-6 pummeling of the Atlanta Falcons. Jalen Hurts surprised many (not me) with his season opening performance in which he passed for 264 yards, 3 TDs, and completed 77.1% of his passes.

Nick Sirianni showed he practiced what he preaches in terms of placing his players in risk adverse situations and placing them positions that allow their talent to shine. No matter where you looked, Sirianni’s coaching philosophy rang true.

Last week, Jalen Hurts running ability opened up a lot for the rest of the offense. Hurts athletic ability presents a bit of a conundrum for the Niners defense, which implores the wide 9 alignment.

The Niners defensive ends can certainly generate pressure and get up field, at times seemingly at will. However, that same aggressiveness can be used against them.

According to NinersNation.com, over the past two seasons, the 49ers have faced quarterbacks that averaged more than 20 rushing yards per game 14 times and allowed them to amass 47.6 rushing yards per game on 5.9 yards a carry.

The Eagles present a similar matchup problem for a 49ers defense coordinated by a familiar face, DeMeco Ryans.

Jalen Hurts is not a statue in the pocket. He can and will move when pressured. Per PFF, Hurts was the top ranked QB under pressure in week 1.

Defensively, the Eagles must be disciplined against the 49ers variety of run concepts/schemes. Kyle Shanahan is arguably the most creative offensive mind in the NFL.

Although the Niners offense is missing it’s number one running back Raheem Mostert, Shanahan has found a way to make the rushing attack work. Rookie Elijah Mitchell rushed 19 times for 104 yards and a touchdown. But, the difference in this matchup is the Eagles possess one of the top defensive lines in the NFL.

Early on last week, the Eagles did struggle against the run, but as the game progressed, the defensive line settled in. The Niners offense goes as their run game goes. The Eagles will have to be ready to go from the start in this one.

Against a 49ers team already suffering from a mountain of injuries, this is a winnable game for Philadelphia.

3 Matchups to Watch

1) Eagles WRs vs. 49ers CBs

Last week the Eagles offense moved the ball in a predominantly horizontal fashion, primarily utilizing screens, quick throws, and the running game.

In this matchup, there should be opportunities by the bulk to stretch the field vertically.

The Niners top corner, Jason Verrett was lost for the year in the season opener against Detroit. That leaves San Fransisco with a rag tag group of corners that are a mix of young and old.

  • Deommodore Lenior
  • Emmanuel Moseley (Doubtful)
  • K’Waun Williams
  • Josh Norman
  • Ambry Thomas
  • Dre Kirkpatrick

To be frank, these aren’t names that strike fear into receivers, specifically a receiver of the caliber of DeVonta Smith. Rookie, Deommodore Lenior will likely draw Smith in coverage. Lenior played 62 coverage snaps a week ago and only allowed 1 catch for 3 yards per PFF. Smith should be able to capitalize on the rookie corner who while physical, is a bit stiff as a defender.

Jalen Reagor and Quez Watkins may also be in line for big days against this 49ers pass defense.

2) Eagles LBs vs 49ers TE/RB

This is a bad matchup for the Eagles linebackers. The Niners run the ball very well and off of their run game incorporate the play action pass game.

For the Eagles, their linebackers could be in for a world of trouble. In week one, Jonathan Gannon lined his defense up situationally. Eric Wilson played majority of the snaps but T.J. Edwards, as well as Shaun Bradley saw time.

Edwards, primarily a run down defender, can be exploited in pass coverage and Wilson, primarily a passing down defender, can be exploited as a run defender. It will be interesting to see how Gannon deploys his unit on Sunday.

The Eagles were able to limit Kyle Pitts last week, it’ll be interesting to see how Jonathan Gannon defends George Kittle in this one.

3) Eagles Offensive Line vs San Francisco Defensive Line

This matchup will decide the game. If the Eagles can protect Jalen Hurts like they did week 1, they will win a lot of games. This is the first true test for this Eagles unit. Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, Dee Ford, and Javon Kinlaw all present their own set of problems.

But this Eagles offensive line is healthy. This unit will have something to say in this game. Jordan Mailata will draw Nick Bosa, in what will be a great test for the recently extended left tackle.


Pick: Eagles 31, 49ers 27

Originally, I pegged this game as a loss for the Eagles. However, due to the mountain of injuries the Niners have right now and how the crucx of those injuries are in areas where the Eagles are strong, as well as the historical component of 49ers defense struggling with containing mobile QBs (same Wide 9 alignment), I have changed my decision.

If the Eagles can protect up front and do as they did against Atlanta along the defensive line last week, this could turn into a long day for Jimmy Garrapolo.

Bold Prediction: The Eagles have 2 passing touchdowns over 40 yards

Author: Pierrot Baptiste Jr.

I am the creator of The Philly Blitz and I am committed to delivering innovative and interesting coverage on both the Eagles and Sixers. Contact Information: Twitter - @pierreb3_ Email: pierrotjr3@gmail.com

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