Eagles

Eagles

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - NOVEMBER 05: Jalen Carter #98 of the Philadelphia Eagles warms up prior to a game against the Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field on November 05, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

This may be the most important game of the year for the Eagles. They already have one win over the Cowboys. So even if they lose that second game, they would not be ceding the tie-breaker to them immediately. But if they do lose to the Niners, not only is their lead over them cut in half, but the 49ers will have the tie-breaker. And if they win, they can pretty much remove the 49ers from the race for the 1 seed. It would put the Eagles 3 games ahead of them, plus the tie-breaker, with 5 games left.

But beating the Niners may also be their toughest test yet. This Niners team is good. They have blown out nearly every team they faced, including the Jaguars and the Cowboys. And their roster is overflowing with talent.

But there are cracks in their armor that the Eagles can exploit. To start, their O-line is at best average, outside of Trent Williams. And unlike the Eagles, they don’t have a dozen different ways to beat a team. They pretty much either blow teams out or lose. In one score games this year they are 1-2. And when one thing goes wrong with them, other issues start to follow.

Rob “Stats” Guerra, who covers the Niners, stated as much when he joined The John Kincade Show this week:

“I always talk about the 49ers offense like a clock. When all the pieces are working together the machine runs beautifully. But if there is even one grain of sand in the mechanism the whole machine collapses. So that is the scary part with the 49ers. Because the Eagles are the complete opposite. They don’t care what is going on, they find a way to get it done.”

So while they are a very good team, they are not untouchable. Hence the 3 straight losses they suffered earlier in the season. And the Eagles have certain players who seem perfect to exploit those issues. Whether it be their pass rushers who can exploit a troubled offensive line, or their own O-line who can help run up the middle of the field. If certain players do their job, the Eagles can win.

Here are 7 of the most important Eagles players for their matchup with the 49ers (Excluding The Obvious of Jalen Hurts):

  • Jalen Carter

    Trent Williams is a stud at LT. But the rest of the 49er’s O-Line range from mediocre to bad. And it is especially rough in the middle, with both guards ranking near the bottom of the league. What better game for Jalen Carter to feast? The Eagles Pass Rush has gotten a ton of pressure the last two weeks, but like with most teams, they struggled to get Josh Allen or Patrick Mahomes down. Brock Purdy is nowhere near as elusive as they are. He is no statue, but he can be gotten too. And with someone as dynamic as Carter going up against such a weak interior O-Line, it is vital they take advantage of that matchup.

    MLFootball on Twitter: "ABSURD: #Eagles rookie DT Jalen Carter DOMINATED the #Chiefs o-line, despite it being one of the best in the league.Every play he was disturbing the QB or being held, never seen anything like this 🤯🤯 pic.twitter.com/wiQE3B0WzoCarter is -180 to win Defensive Rookie of the Year,... / Twitter"

    ABSURD: #Eagles rookie DT Jalen Carter DOMINATED the #Chiefs o-line, despite it being one of the best in the league.Every play he was disturbing the QB or being held, never seen anything like this 🤯🤯 pic.twitter.com/wiQE3B0WzoCarter is -180 to win Defensive Rookie of the Year,...

  • Jason Kelce, Landon Dickerson, and Cam Jurgens

    The Niners are a tough team to run on, if you try to run to the edges of the field. Fred Warner and the Niners LB corps are too rangy and will track you down. But we have seen they can be exploited up the middle. And when it gets into 3rd and short, they have just one stop against the run all season long. We are familiar with Javon Hargrave. We know he can be explosive as a pass rusher. We also saw him get exposed against the run a bit.

    The Eagles game plan should heavily feature runs up the middle. It is a proven way to beat this defense. And being successful there starts with Jason Kelce, Landon Dickerson, and Cam Jurgens. And if you are relying on Kelce, you are in good shape. Landon Dickerson and Jason Kelce are both in the top 5 of IOL Run Block Win Rate. And you can see their impact on the game-winning run last week.

  • Kevin Byard

    Two weeks ago Kevin Byard had the tough test of shutting down Travis Kelce. He did a damn good job of it. it gets no easier this week with George Kittle coming to town. The Eagles are injury-riddled at Linebacker, meaning it will likely be Byard who draws Kittle. Completely shutting him down may be too tall of a task. But can you limit him the way they did Travis Kelce? If they can keep him from being a game-breaker, they will have a great chance of keeping the 49ers passing game in check.

  • Darius Slay

    Deebon Samuel is not the player he once was. But Brandon Aiyuk has more than made up for Samuel’s drop in production. We can imagine James Bradberry will draw Deebo, leaving Darius Slay on Aiyuk. He might be even more dangerous than Kittle in the passing game. Again, shutting Aiyuk down may be asking too much. But can he contain him? Keep him under 60 yards? They can’t double-team everybody. And with all of the Niners weapons some guys are going to have to do their jobs without help. Slay will be one of those guys. If he can do his job, it makes it much easier for everyone else to do theirs.

    Oliver Davis II on Twitter: "Darius Slay has been doing this for years. I love the consistency in his play. Great player, great feel for the game. #ART pic.twitter.com/hIoiTDbPZ5 / Twitter"

    Darius Slay has been doing this for years. I love the consistency in his play. Great player, great feel for the game. #ART pic.twitter.com/hIoiTDbPZ5

  • Jordan Davis ( And the rest of the Run Defense)

    Run defense is kind of a team accomplishment. But the face of the Eagles tout Run D is Jordan Davis. He has been a force against the run, blowing up the middle of the line, making it near impossible for most backs to run up the middle. Only one running back has gotten the better of them this year, Isiah Pacheco. And even he got stopped in the 2nd half. They have their hardest challenge yet though with Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey has only been held under 60 yards 4 times this season. The 49ers are 1-3 in those games. If Davis and the rest of the Eagles defense contain him, they stand a very good chance to leave Sunday with a win.

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