Eagles v. 49ers Week 2 preview: key matchups and official prediction
Following their 32-6 rout over Atlanta, the Eagles look to go 2-0 on the year against the 49ers. Jalen Hurts and the Eagles’ offense looked poised in their season opener but have a formidable opponent ahead of them with Nick Bosa and Fred Warner coming to town.
Although San Francisco lost RB Raheem Mostert and CB Jason Verrett to long-term injuries, Philadelphia shouldn’t take this 49ers team lightly. San Fran has a much better defensive line than the Falcons and they could certainly disrupt Jalen Hurts.
The biggest matchup to watch on Sunday is the Eagles’ OL against San Francisco’s pass rush. Nick Bosa is coming off a productive game v. Detroit, logging three tackles for a loss, 2 QB hits, and a sack against Jared Goff. Arik Armstead is a stout run defender in his own right and Dee Ford looked decent in his return to the field.
Jordan Mailata will get his first major test since his new contract extension after an impressive opener. For what it’s worth, Mailata seems pretty confident that he’ll be able to hold his own against Bosa:
The other significant mismatch on paper involves the Eagles’ speedy receivers against a beaten-up 49ers secondary. As mentioned prior, the 49ers lost their CB1 Jason Verrett for the season to a torn ACL. They signed veterans Dre Kirkpatrick and Josh Norman to add some depth, but who knows what they have left in the tank if anything:
49ers active CBs:— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) September 16, 2021
• Dre Kirkpatrick (signed 2 days ago)
• Dontae Johnson (was on PS yesterday)
• Emmanuel Moseley (hurt, knee injury)
• Deommodore Lenoir (rookie)
• Ambry Thomas (rookie)
• K’Waun Williams (who?)
• Josh Norman (cooked) pic.twitter.com/y4Sm7uQ0Up
A quick skim through the comments on the tweet above and you’ll see that triggered Niners fans apparently think K’Waun Williams is a bonafide DPOY candidate. First of all, Williams isn’t even the best slot corner in the league. Bryce Callahan is. Secondly, nobody is scared of K’Waun Williams.
DeVonta Smith and Jalen Reagor should have productive days against this secondary. Both players led the team in receptions last week with six. Best believe I’m lighting the Twitter timeline on fire when they cook whoever is covering them.
This young Eagles offense has *several* weapons. pic.twitter.com/UjSTIt6Zld— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) September 12, 2021
Kenneth Gainwell established himself as an integral piece of the Eagles’ offense last week. The 5th-round rookie had 11 touches for 43 yards and a TD in his debut; I would expect that usage to continue. Jared Goff completed a total of 16 passes to D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams out of the backfield v. San Francisco last week. The defense can be taken advantage of, especially with LB Dre Greenlaw unable to play.
The tandem of Sanders and Gainwell will have top-5 LB Fred Warner staring them in the face over the middle. They’ll need to hold up in pass protection if Hurts hopes to have a similar performance as Week 1.
I would commit heinous crimes to have a competent linebacker. pic.twitter.com/84SvJXr982— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) October 19, 2020
The 49ers have struggled considerably against athletic quarterbacks in the past. Over the last two seasons, San Francisco has allowed 47.6 rushing yards per game by opposing mobile QBs. Evidently, this bodes well for Jalen Hurts and his dual-threat ability.
Hurts rushed for 62 yards on seven carries against Atlanta in addition to his 264 yards and 3 TDs through the air. New defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans — a man who knows Philadelphia fairly well — will have to figure out a scheme to contain Hurts. That’s a challenging task for a guy who’s accumulated 334 yards on the ground over just five starts.
Here’s the entire 2-minute drill from Jalen Hurts to end the first half.— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) September 15, 2021
You don’t see this kind of poise and decisiveness from many second-year QBs. pic.twitter.com/TQvQk8Y01E
Offensively, the 49ers have some intriguing talent. Deebo Samuel caught nine passes for 189 yards last week and 6th-round pick Elijah Mitchell was impressive on the ground. Last year’s first-round selection Brandon Aiyuk played in just 26 snaps v. Detroit, but I wouldn’t expect that snap count to last very long.
If they stay disciplined, Jonathan Gannon has the personnel necessary to keep this offense in check. Calvin Ridley was a nonfactor after the first quarter last week, only having 51 receiving yards. The Eagles were also the only team in the league not to allow a single play over 20 yards in Week 1.
In summation, the 49ers’ front-7 could prove troublesome for Nick Sirianni’s offense. Kyle Shanahan, for whatever reason, is trying to implement a dual-QB offense with Jimmy Garoppolo and sprinkles of Trey Lance. It’ll be a competitive game, but the Eagles should be able to do enough to win this game at home.
Final prediction: Eagles win 27-20
Mandatory Credit: World News Era