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Could the 49ers take down the Eagles?

Two weeks ago we would have said no. Now?

Right now, there’s no denying that the Eagles are the best team in the NFC. They’re undefeated after a win last night over the Texans, they’re at the top of the best division in football, and they have bona fide threats at every position. However, 49ers fans know better than most that being the best team in the conference doesn’t always mean winning a Super Bowl or even getting there. So, if it came down to it, could the 49ers take down the big bad Eagles? We discussed that on today’s Gold Diggers podcast.

On the surface, Philadelphia doesn’t have a lot of flaws. They’ve been up by at least 12 points in every game. They’ve won the turnover battle in every game. Hell, they haven’t even trailed in the second half this season. With the win last night, Philly became the 29th team in the Super Bowl era to start 8-0. Fifteen teams went on to win their conference (including the 49ers in 2019), and eight won the Super Bowl. This just in: They’re good.

They aren’t perfect, however, and earlier in the week, Mina Kimes revealed one potential weakness that the 49ers would definitely be able to exploit - the Birds can’t tackle.

In fairness, their poor tackling hasn’t really mattered so far this year. Just last night, Dameon Pierce gashed them for 139 yards on 27 carries, and the Texans still lost by 12 points. Against the 49ers, however, that most definitely wouldn’t be the case.

Few teams in the league have the variety of playmakers the 49ers have with the ball in their hands. Deebo Samuel, Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk can all blow a game open on any play once they touch the ball, and if you combine that strength with a poor tackling defense, you greatly increase the Niners’ chance of keeping pace in a shootout.

“With McCaffrey, Deebo, and Kittle,” Dan Orlovsky said on ESPN on Monday, “It’s probably the most un-tackle-able trio in the history of the NFL.”

The biggest challenge for San Francisco would be slowing down the Eagles’ ground game. Right now, Philadelphia is sixth in the league in rushing yards per game at 148.8, and they lead the NFL in rushing touchdowns with 16. Officially the numbers still have the Niners as the stingiest run defense in the league, but since Arik Armstead went down, they’ve been getting gashed on the ground for more than 100 yards per game. DeMeco Ryans would have to find a way to stop Hurts and company, which is easier said than done.

Ultimately any game between these two teams would likely be close. Close games are usually determined by turnovers, which have plagued the 49ers under Kyle Shanahan. The Eagles, meanwhile, have taken care of the ball remarkably well in 2022, with just three total giveaways all season long. Some of that has been luck, however. Despite fumbling the ball seven times this year, they’ve only lost possession once, and that came last night against Houston. It’s not inconceivable to think Philly could see some regression in the ball protection area (which is never a good thing).

As Kyle Posey literally pointed out to me as I write this article, it is incredible how much the view of the 49ers changes in a short period of time. Two weeks ago, they’re getting their doors blown off by the Chiefs, and now we’re legitimately asking if they could take down the conference’s undefeated top seed that just won a short week game on the road by double-digits.

What can we say? Life comes at you fast.

What do you think? Tell us who you think wins and why in the comments below.

Other topics in today’s show

  • Could the Niners take the Eagles? (1:52)
  • Why the 49ers are like Starburst (5:50)
  • Kyle Shanahan’s record against everyone EXCEPT the Rams (6:49)
  • What to root for in Week 9
  • Seahawks Cardinals (8:53)
  • One flaw in Seattle’s offense that might also put them in the Super Bowl (12:29)
  • Rams Bucs (16:53)
  • Falcons Bears (21:04)
  • Vikings Commanders (25:00)
  • People need to recognize Jimmy G. for what he is (28:58)
  • Michelle and Rob resume a weeks old argument for no reason whatsoever (38:39)
  • The single meanest thing Michelle has ever said to Rob during a show (46:10)