Game Overview ::
By mike johnson >>
- The “game of the week” features a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship Game and will have a lot to live up to after last week’s thrilling game between the Eagles and Bills.
- Both defenses have a clear “path of least resistance” with the number indicating that the Philadelphia running game and 49ers passing game are in the best spots this week.
- After a couple of quiet weeks, A.J. Brown could be primed for a breakout.
- The 49ers defense has 15 sacks in the three games since acquiring Chase Young.
- A loss by the Eagles would make next week’s showdown with the Cowboys a game for the NFC East division lead.
How San francisco Will Try To Win ::
The 49ers had a mid-season lull where they lost three consecutive games to the Browns, Vikings, and Bengals. Other than that, they have won their other eight games – seven by double digits and five by three or more scores. In those eight wins, they have scored at least 27 points in every game and 30+ in seven of eight. Another important factor to consider is that losing streak in the middle of their season came during the stretch of games where star wide receiver Deebo Samuel and star offensive tackle Trent Williams were injured. Since both returned to the lineup, the 49ers have resumed their dominant ways and are scorching-hot heading into Philadelphia this week.
The 49ers run the ball at the highest rate in the NFL but are just a little below the middle of the pack in pass rate over expectation (PROE). Said another way, a lot of their high rush rate has to do with the extreme game scripts that their high-scoring offense and very good defense have created for them this season. The 49ers passing game leads the league in DVOA and yards per pass attempt, as they have been wildly efficient when fully healthy. As we have explored in past weeks, this offense works similar to a basketball team, with Brock Purdy as the “point guard” and their four star playmakers – Christian McCaffrey, Brandon Aiyuk, Samuel, and George Kittle – having the ball dispersed amongst them to make plays. This week they face the Eagles, who have one of the league’s top run defenses that has slowed down many units this season. That fact is unlikely to completely deter the 49ers, however, as their running game concepts are the backbone to their offense and their scheme is unique in how hard it is to defend. Put simply, this is a tougher-than-usual matchup for the 49ers running game but it is also a much more complex task than usual for the Eagles run defense.
The Eagles secondary has had its issues and the 49ers highly efficient passing game will look to pick its spots and take advantage of this as well. Philadelphia mixes up their man and zone coverage looks, but they have been far worse when playing zone coverage this season than man. This weakness could be exploited this week by a 49ers team that is built to get the ball in the hands of its playmakers and then let them make things happen. Zone coverage, in many cases, makes those short completions a bit easier and then banks on the defenders making tackles. That’s a dangerous little game to be playing with the likes of Deebo, CMC, and Kittle. Philadelphia has had its share of troubles with outside receivers as well and Aiyuk leads the league in yards per route run, which is one of the more predictive receiving stats we have in terms of “how good” a receiver is really playing.
All things considered, the 49ers offense will not stray too far from its normal approach in this game but will certainly be aware of the offensive threat on the other side of the ball and take an aggressive approach early as they try to build a lead. Also, after seeing the Eagles comeback victory over the Bills in Week 12, we should expect San Francisco to keep its foot on the gas even if the Niners are able to build an early lead.