The San Francisco 49ers return home to Levi’s Stadium to host the winless Philadelphia Eagles, who tied with the Cincinnati Bengals Week 3. The betting line opened up with the Niners as three-point favorites, which jumped to five pretty quickly. Now, that line has ballooned to seven points. The total on the game is 45.5, so Vegas is expecting a 49ers victory around 26-19.
I’ve done a couple of podcasts with a few Eagles folks, and they are a sad bunch. Both times they predicted a three-score win for San Francisco. Let’s compare the stats between these two teams before we breakdown the
By the numbers
49ers Offense vs. the Eagles defense
The 49ers offense ranks eighth in DVOA through three games, while the Eagles are 15th. Philadelphia’s yards per drive stat is the most misleading number you’ll read today. It’s tough to give up many yards when your quarterback throws the ball to the other team, and the offense is starting in plus territory. On average, opposing offenses start on the 35-yard line, which is the second-worst in the NFL.
The Eagles are a good third-down defense as they can get after you. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has always been known to be aggressive. Their defensive line is good enough to where Philly doesn’t have to blitz often. They blitzed Joe Burrow 27% of the time during Week 3, which is on par with the Eagles season average.
San Francisco has to take advantage of a banged-up Eagles secondary. Starting cornerback Avonte Maddox is going to miss Sunday’s game, and his replacement, Trevor Williams, came in and was immediately beaten for a touchdown in the end zone against Cincinnati last week. On Wednesday, Williams was added to the injury report. Philly would be down to three healthy cornerbacks if Williams doesn’t suit up. Hello, Brandon Aiyuk.
Play-action/RPO this defense to death, pick on their back-seven, take care of the football, and you win the game.
49ers Defense vs. Philly’s offense
At least they’re good on third downs? If you’re saying the numbers are skewed because the 49ers have played both of New York’s teams, that’s fair. Still, you have to dominate against lesser competition and San Francisco did that. The Eagles haven’t exactly played murderers row. They lost to Washington, got blown out at home against the Rams, and tied with the Bengals. The Rams are 21st in DVOA on defense.
The Eagles placed first round pick Jalen Reagor on the IR earlier this week, and Desean Jackson has a hamstring injury. He did not practice on Wednesday, neither did J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. Philadelphia’s starting receivers could very well be Greg Ward and John Hightower Sunday night. If you don’t know who they are, you’re in the majority. On Thursday, Philadelphia only had one healthy wide receiver that practiced.
We’re unsure who will suit up at cornerback for the 49ers, but that may not matter with all of the injures on the perimeter for the Eagles. This is a spot where San Francisco must be stingy on this side of the ball. The offensive numbers for Philly back up what you see when you watch them: they’re dreadful.
The Eagles do have an impressive rushing attack. They’re fifth in success rate on the ground. Philly isn’t going to break off explosive plays, however, whether it’s on the ground or through the air. Carson Wentz has eight passes that have gone for more than 20 yards this season, which is 17th in the NFL. The Eagles are 19th in explosive run plays as well. Defensively, the 49ers have allowed the second-fewest big passing plays in the NFL, though they have given up 12 “explosive runs,” which is the eighth-worst.
Win on early downs, make Wentz throw from the pocket, win the game.