It is Eagles vs Niners on Sunday. And with the 49ers being one of the better teams in the league, it would make sense to have some reservations about this game. But while the Niners are a great team, so are the Eagles. And there are some matchups that favor them vs the 49ers. Here are 5 numbers that show that the Eagles can beat the Niners.
The 49ers’ defense is very good. You could argue as a complete unit, they are the best defense in the NFL. And the fact they gave up the least yards per game reflects that. But there is one area where they are weak. And it is an area the Eagles can exploit. They struggle vs outside WRs. Over the last 5 games, they have allowed Cee Dee Lamb to get 117 yards, DK Metcalf to get 136 yards and two touchdowns, Davante Adams to get 153 yards and two touchdowns, Terry McLaurin to get 91 yards and a TD, plus AJ Green to get 77 and a TD. That is an average of 114.8 yards per game, plus 1.2 Tds per game, to the opposing team’s top WR.
Well, the Eagles have AJ Brown on one side, and Devonta Smith on the other. One of them is due for a very big game. Both eclipsed 100o yards this season. And both are capable of having that huge 100+ yard game with multiple scores. It is the 49ers’ biggest weakness, and the Eagles are the perfect team to exploit it with perhaps the best WR duo in the league.
Nick Bosa may be the best defensive player on the field next week. I say may because I am not convinced Haason Reddick is not in fact better. But for the sake of the argument, let’s give it to Bosa. He has 18.5 of the 49ers’ 44 sacks. Meanwhile, Reddick had 16. The difference is Bosa accounted for 42% of his team’s sacks. While Reddick only accounted for 22.9%. You could argue Bosa is better than Reddick. But as a whole unit, the Eagles’ pass rush far outweighs the 49ers. They had 26 more sacks, and they were spread out amongst more players.
No one else on the 49ers had more than 5 sacks. The Eagles had 5 guys with more than 5 sacks and 4 in double digits. This is one of the deepest pass rush units in NFL history. While the 49ers’ pass rush is one-dimensional. Bosa will be rushing against Lane Johnson. While the 49ers have Trent Williams who may take care of Josh Sweat, who is blocking Reddick, Javon Hargrave, Brandon Graham, and Fletcher Cox?
In that same vein, The Eagles also have an advantage along the Offensive Line. Vs the Cowboys, the 49ers gave up a pressure rate of 27.2%. On nearly a third of his dropbacks, Brock Purdy was under pressure. Meanwhile, the Eagles offensive line allowed just one pressure on 26 dropbacks. A pressure rate of just 3.9%. The second-lowest pressure rate allowed in a playoff game ever. So what we have is a 49ers O Line that can be a little bit suspect outside of Trent Williams, who is brilliant. The Eagles have two first-team All-Pros, Jordan Mailata and Landon Dickerson who could easily be future All-Pros, and Isaac Seumalo who while not a star is a solid player stuck between two All-Pros.
So the Eagles not only have the better D-Line, they have the better O-Line. The cliche is that football, especially playoff football, is won in the trenches. If that is true, the Eagles will win this game.
The question becomes how well Brock Purdy handles pressure. During the regular season, the Niners did not face many teams capable of creating a consistent pass rush. But that was not the case vs the Cowboys. The Cowboys have one of the better pass-rush units in the league and were able to get after Purdy. We already mentioned they got pressure on him 27.2 % of the time. And when under pressure, Purdy struggled mightily. He completed just 33.3% of his passes when under pressure. And what do the Eagles do better than anyone? Generate pressure. They lead the league in sacks, and they don’t need to blitz to do it. Keep an eye on how Purdy responds while doing pressure from Reddick and Sweat at each end. Because he seemed to struggle with it against the Cowboys.
This Eagles offense is elite. They have scored at least 20 points in all except 2 games. And one of those games was without Jalen Hurts. The Niners meanwhile have failed to score 20 5 times. Including last week vs the Cowboys. Both of these offenses are great. But one is nearly impossible to stop. The other is just kind of hard to stop. The Eagles’ offense is when healthy, as dangerous as any in recent memory. They have the best O line, the best Wr group, one of the best Qbs, and one of the best TEs. They have shown time after time that you should not doubt them.