In this one, the 49ers will have quarterback Brock Purdy, who suffered a torn UCL in the first quarter of last year’s game, as well as defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, whom they poached from the Eagles in free agency.
Earlier this week, as a part of our weekly staff predictions, I chose the 49ers to defeat the Eagles 27-17, which would improve them to 9-3 on the year and within one game of the No. 1 seed with the tiebreaker in hand.
That leads us to the question: is Week 13 more important for the 49ers or the Eagles?
Currently, the Eagles sit at 10-1, good for first in the NFC, while the 49ers have an 8-3 record, keeping them at the No. 2 seed, although they are tied with the Detroit Lions, who hold the No. 3 seed.
Should the Eagles lose, the 49ers would improve to 9-3, while the Eagles would drop to 10-2, with the former holding the tiebreaker. In this scenario, the Eagles would still hold their fate, as they’d have a one-game advantage over San Francisco in the field.
But, should the Eagles win, the 49ers would drop to 8-4, while Philadelphia would improve to 11-1. In this instance, it would be highly unlikely that San Francisco would get the No. 1 seed, as the Eagles would hold a three-game advantage AND the tiebreaker. That means that San Francisco would ultimately have to win out, ending at 13-4, while the Eagles would have to lose four of their last five to drop down. That’s not going to happen, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
Looking here, a loss would almost certainly drop the 49ers from contention for the No. 1 seed, while a win would put them on the right direction, but they’d still need help.
A significant part of the importance debate also involves the teams’ future schedules.
Here’s Philadelphia’s remaining games: at Cowboys, at Seahawks, vs. Giants, vs. Cardinals, and at Giants.
Here’s San Francisco’s remaining games: vs. Seattle, at Cardinals, vs. Ravens, at Commanders, and vs. Rams.
Looking at the overall schedule, Philadelphia’s most important game isn’t Week 13; it’s their divisional bout on the road against the Cowboys, as Dallas is 9-3 and would take control of the NFC East with a win over the Eagles, should they lose against the 49ers as well.
But, apart from the Cowboys game, every other game is one that Philadelphia should be favored in by a pretty wide margin.
As for the 49ers, they still have to face the Ravens, who are one of the hottest teams in the NFL and possess a tough matchup for San Francisco.
What does that mean? In order to obtain the No. 1 seed, San Francisco needs to win every opportunity that they can, because it’s likely that Philadelphia ends with three losses, at most.
So, when judging importance, I’d lean that this game has much more importance for the 49ers, rather than the Eagles, which is why this game is a must-win if San Francisco wants to extend their hopes of obtaining the No. 1 seed.
As I shared above, I do believe that the 49ers will beat the Eagles this week, and I don’t think it’ll be that close with a final score of 27-17.
That would put Philadelphia at 10-2 and San Francisco at 9-3, with the latter earning the tiebreaker.
I could even see the Eagles losing on the road next week to a Cowboys team that has seen elite quarterback play from Dak Prescott this season, dropping them to 10-3 and providing Dallas control of the No. 1 seed for the time being.
But, I don’t see Philadelphia losing a game down the stretch, which would place them at 14-3 at the worst.
Dallas, on the other hand, still has to face the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, and Detroit Lions after the Eagles. I anticipate them losing at least one of those games, dropping them to 13-4 at best and out of competition for the NFC East title.
As for San Francisco, while I envision them beating the Eagles, I don’t see them currently winning out with a game like the Baltimore Ravens still on the schedule. I predict them to finish 13-4, which would keep them out of contention for the No. 1 seed, even with the victory over Philly.