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49ers game predictions: A clean sweep, but the game will be closer than you think

The 49ers take on the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football.

Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers begin a three-game homestand when they take on the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4 of the NFL season. The Niners swept the Big Apple teams to improve to 2-1 going into the Sunday Night Football matchup.

With Jimmy Garoppolo OUT, Nick Mullens will make his second-straight start at quarterback for San Francisco. Mullens threw for 343 yards and a touchdown against the New York Giants last week, leading the 49ers to a 36-9 blowout win.

Tight end George Kittle will be back in the lineup after missing the last two contests with a knee injury, which is a massive bonus with Jordan Reed getting hurt last week. Receiver Deebo Samuel is cleared to return but will be eased into the lineup.

San Francisco’s secondary is also something to keep an eye on. K’Waun Williams will play, but it looks like Emmanuel Moseley could miss the game with a concussion. Ahkello Witherspoon is dealing with a hamstring issue, so the Niners might be forced to go with Jason Verrett and Dontae Johnson at corner.

Philadelphia is winless going into Week 4 at 0-2-1. The Eagles’ offense is struggling with QB Carson Wentz throwing two interceptions in each game so far this season. Philly’s defense is dead-last in the NFL in takeaways with one.

Here are the predictions for Week 3 from Niners Nation contributors:

Kyle Posey: The key matchup will be the Eagles defensive line against a 49ers offensive line, who are still figuring out how to play with two new starters. Having the ultimate equalizer in Kyle Shanahan will go a long way in the 49ers winning. To say Philadelphia has struggled on offense is like saying Raheem Mostert is “kind of fast.” It’s an understatement. DeSean Jackson didn’t practice all week and will be a game-time decision. Carson Wentz will be short-handed at receiver, and I’d expect Robert Saleh to continue being aggressive as a blitzer.

Jason Verrett has his first interception as a Niner, and Brandon Aiyuk has his first 100-yard receiving game in his career as the 49ers jump out to a big lead and have to hold on late.

Kyle’s prediction: 49ers 24, Eagles 16

Rob Guerrera: The 49ers have been fortunate to play the Jets and Giants while nine of their starters have been injured, but Sunday will be a much more difficult test. The key to me will be protecting Nick Mullens long enough to let the offense function. Philly has some talent on the defensive line, in particular with Fletcher Cox in the middle, and they’re going to give the 49ers problems. I worry that vintage Carson Wentz will make an appearance against a banged-up 49ers secondary on the other side of the ball. That said, as long as the 49ers don’t get down by multiple scores, I think they do just enough to eke out a win at home.

Rob’s prediction: SF wins, 20-17

Jas Kang: There isn’t any upside to all of the injuries the 49ers have suffered, but at least they will have most of their big guns back by the time the schedule gets more challenging. The Eagles’ offense has been atrocious this season, which should make the job easier for San Francisco’s injury-riddled defense. Philadelphia will be without Alshon Jeffrey, DeSean Jackson, and Jalen Reagor on Sunday, taking some pressure off the cornerback duo of Jason Verrett and Dontae Johnson. The Niners’ offense is getting Kittle’s back, giving Mullens — and the run game — a huge boost. Philly’s secondary is also dealing with injuries so that Shanahan could dial up some big plays. The Eagles aren’t as bad as the New York teams, but they still aren’t on the Niners’ level. Plus, we will get to hear Chris Collinsworth gush over Mullens, so it’s a win all around.

Jas’ prediction: SF wins, 31-20

What is your prediction for the final score?