The 49ers head to Philly for a showdown with the unbeaten Eagles in what should be a tough matchup. The Eagles are coming off a demolition of the Atlanta Falcons in a game where they flashed on the ground showing off Jalen Hurts’ mobility and an efficient passing game. Let’s dive in and take a look at what we can expect on Sunday.
Best Case Scenario:
The 49ers defense will control the Eagles run game and force them into a one dimensional passing attack. The offense will be able to reach the perimeter of the defense and will utilize a lateral rushing attack with outside zone and will keep the Eagles talented front off balance with the zone read.
The key matchup in the game will be the Eagles defensive line versus the 49ers offensive line. The 49ers offense will have an unlikely advantage due to the outside zone scheme. The Eagles deployed a 3-4 attack in Week 1 and while this look is a stout run scheme, the weakness is out on the perimeter where the 49ers make a living. The 49ers run game will take an exotic turn this week and the Trey Lance package will be a key to the game. Expect multiple read option plays including wide receivers in motion as shovel pass options and even a few looks for George Kittle on end-arounds. The multiple options running the football will put the Eagles back on their heels and put them on the defensive which will cause their coverage schemes to be basic and easy to read for 49ers quarterbacks.
Last week, the Eagles seemed to take on the identity of head coach Nick Sirianni and the power run game he deployed in his days as offensive coordinator with the Colts. However, this was a mirage and Sirianni is a disciple of Frank Reich who is in love with the west coast concept passing game with some RPO sprinkled in. Hurts is the perfect quarterback for this scheme, but they will rely too heavily on the short-to-intermediate passing game when running the ball isn’t given to them as was the case in Week 1. The 49ers will deploy underneath coverage and utilize their fast linebackers to take away underneath routes in the middle of the field and force Hurts to win over the top. Hurts’ inaccuracy down the field will show up and he will struggle to find the efficiency he displayed against Atlanta. Hurts will have a bad day and the Eagles offense will follow suit.
Worst Case Scenario: The 49ers will struggle to run the football against a talented Eagles defensive front including Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett. The 49ers offense will struggle to move the ball all day and Jimmy Garoppolo will begin to press which will lead to some bad decisions including a couple turnovers. Trey Lance will be brought in for a spark but will be under constant duress and have another 40% completion percentage passing day. Without a stable run game this one could get out of hand early.
The 49ers defensive struggles in the run game will continue, especially up the middle. Expect Miles Sanders and Jalen Hurts to have a strong game running the football. Defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans will attempt to manufacture pressure with some line stunts and will be gashed by long runs. Once the 49ers have committed to blitzing, DeVonta Smith will go to work deep against a ravaged 49ers secondary. It will be a long day for the 49ers secondary and this could begin to bring up some serious concerns about Ryans’ readiness for a coordinator role.
Chuy’s Prediction: The 49ers will edge out the Eagles 27-23 behind an exotic run game featuring Trey Lance and a multitude of 49ers playmakers.
Yes, the Trey Lance package will finally be unveiled. Expect Lance to play between 12 to 17 snaps while the 49ers outflank the Eagles on the perimeter and utilize their speed to control the clock with the run game. There won’t be much fireworks in the passing game on either side and the 49ers have the better run scheme which will prove to be the difference.
See you next week with a tough prime time Sunday Night Football game against the Green Bay Packers. Check Alejandra and me out on YouTube as we will be live in Santa Clara bringing you coverage up until kickoff.