December 3, 2023

Eagles face difficult challenge against 49ers in Week 2


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After a relatively easy win over the Atlanta Falcons in week one, the Eagles face a bit of a harder challenge in week two as they face the San Francisco 49ers. But, the Eagles are home for the first time this season and they looked very promising in week one, so it’s very possible this game can go either way.

Eagles inactives: S Rodney McLeod (knee), QB Gardner Minshew, CB Mac McCain, OL Brett Toth, DT Marlon Tuipulotu.

49ers inactives: LB Dre Greenlaw (groin).

Here’s three storylines for Sunday afternoon’s game.

Eagles shouldn’t beat the 49ers

The 49ers are more talented. The Eagles’ week one destrustion over the Falcons doesn’t prove that they’re good enough to beat a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

But, what if the feelings about the 2021 Eagles were wrong, and they really are good? It’s possible.

Sure, the Falcons might be really bad, but good teams beat down those bad teams. And that’s just what Philly did in Atlanta last Saunday.

We saw enough to learn that the Eagles aren’t a bad team. But are they a good one?

Again, it’s possible. From good coaching to strong quarterback play to domination in the trenches, the Birds have a recipe for success.

Perhaps this optimism will look foolish if/when the 49ers give the Eagles a reality check. Until then, though, why would one go against the good vibes that the Birds have going for them right now?

Also, the crowd at Lincoln Financial Field is going to be absolutely insane. The first full game back at The Linc since January 2020? With a chance to go 2-0? The fans are going to bring the juice and that can only help.

The Eagles’ offense is going to be able to take advantage of a 49ers defense that’s banged up. DeVonta Smith is going to feast on a gettable secondary.

The Eagles’ defense might have some trouble shutting down Kyle Shanahan’s offense entirely. But their defensive line gives them a chance to slow down the 49ers’ attack.

All told, the feeling here is that it’s going to a good game.

No way the Birds lose after the 49ers unwisely pulled a “Vikings fans prior to the 2018 NFC Championship” move here:

Terrible vibes from the ‘9ers side.

Can Hurts carry over the encouraging signs from Week 1?

Jalen Hurts was one of only eight quarter backs opening weekend that didn’t complete a pass of at least 30 yards.

And that’s a good thing. Because that means he wasn’t forcing anything down the field and he was taking what the defense gave him. And he was so accurate he was able to put up 32 points without taking any deep shots.

Hurts last year had the second-most 30-yard completions in the entire NFL the last five weeks of the season, which has a lot to do with that 52% completion percentage.

Those are fun plays but they’re low-percentage plays. He was chucking it deep all the time just because why not? He was trying to make something happen in a dead offense.

He showed so much growth Sunday in terms of discipline and not trying to make a play that wasn’t there.

There’ll be times where the Eagles need deep shots from Hurts and there’ll be times the receivers are open down the field, and Hurts can make those throws. But why take those chances when you’re moving the ball up and down the field so easily with the short passing game and running game?

There’s something to be said for restraint. Hurts deserves a lot of credit for what he didn’t do Sunday. Let’s hope he continues that Sunday.

How to beat San Francisco

The Eagles were the only team in the NFL that didn’t allow a play longer than 18 yards Sunday. They allowed just two plays over 10 yards after the first quarter.

After last year, when the Eagles allowed 62 plays of at least 20 yards (12th-most in the NFL), that was an encouraging sign.

Jonathan Gannon’s biggest message to his team is don’t let the ball go over your head. Keep the play in front of you.

The 49ers hit a few big plays against the Detroit Lions (Jimmy Garoppolo’s 79-yard TD pass to Deebo Samuel, Elijah Mitchell’s 38-yard TD run and a Garoppolo 35-yarder to George Kittle). This is a big-play 49ers offense and they will present more of a challenge down the field than the Falcons.

It’s a matchup I’m really looking forward to.

Kyle Shanahan’s offense vs. Gannon’s defense.

If the Eagles limit the 49ers’ big plays, they’re not losing this game.\

Game information

When: 1:00pm ET
Where: Lincoln Financial Field
Broadcast: FOX
Radio: 94.1 WIP

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