By Brandon Pemberton
Catch me on twitter @Bashir28
Today the Philadelphia Eagles face the San Francisco 49ers at Lincoln Financial Field, after a bad loss the week prior to the New York Giants. Quarterback Mike Vick sustained a deep muscle bruise to his right hand, which is obviously his non-throwing hand and he is giving it a go today against the Niners. While the 49ers offense isn’t a group of world beaters, their defensive front seven is a group of vicious players, led by the best middle linebacker in football, Patrick Willis.
As I said earlier, Vick is going to give it a go with the deep muscle bruise in his right hand and the key for him will be ball security. It a known fact that the 49ers will be looking to knock the ball from his hands and force turnovers. Andy Reid needs to do a better job calling plays that won’t expose him to taking too many shots and the offensive line needs to do a better job protecting the QB. DeSean Jackson has caught four passes over the last two games and In my eyes it’s a combination of the fact that Jackson is a one trick pony, but I also believe the Eagles need to better design plays to get Jackson the ball in space. I know people are worrying about him being hurt again or receiving another concussion, but this offense is at full strength when he is making plays.
I would also love to see more from tight end Brent Celek in the middle of the field, but it’s kind of hard because he is often used to stay in and help block. LeSean McCoy has been his usual self, and I expect nothing less this week against the Niners even though it will be a tougher task. Jason Avant and Steve Smith need to get open and produce more from the slot.
The San Francisco 49ers offense is putrid to be nice, averaging an NFL low 213.7 yards per game through the first three games of the season. Franchise running back Frank Gore is expected to play even though he has a sore ankle. Gore hasn’t looked like his usual self with 148 yards on 59 carries and 2.5 yards a pop. This is due to the fact that he has been banged up and that the 49ers have no ability to stretch the field in the passing game. I believe Head Coach Jim Harbaugh will try to run the ball and stay out of the long down and distance situations. Tight End Vernon Davis is a mismatch nightmare and could cause the Eagles problems if not double teamed.
The Eagles gave up big plays in the passing game last week against the Giants due to bad tackling and missed assignments. Rookie linebacker Casey Matthews was moved to the weakside linebacker for the Giants game and he played horrible and know he’s been benched for 7th round draft pick Brian Rolle. Rolle, who was a captain and stand out player at Ohio State, will have his chance to keep the starting spot at the will linebacker. He will be tested this week against the run and in pass coverage as he will see Frank Gore and Vernon Davis. The 49ers pose no threat on the outside from their wideouts and the Birds should be able to focus on stopping Vernon Davis in the middle of the field and hopefully they will be able to stop the run. The defensive line will be licking their chops and looking forward to the chance to get a 49ers quarterback Alex Smith. Bottom line is and it’s the same every week with this Eagles defense, if they can stop the run and make tackles, they will be fine.
The bright spot on this 49ers team is the defense. They play a base 3-4 and the front seven players are a physical, tough group of players. You better believe they are going to come after Vick and knock him around and they are the NFL’s 3rd best team against the run. Patrick Willis is great against the run and in coverage, while rookie outside linebacker Aldon Smith has show the ability to pressure the QB in spot duty. The one weak spot is the secondary and they will need to be mistake free against the Eagles. One missed assignment and it can be Desean Jackson deep for a touchdown. If the defense can force some turnovers, they will give their team a chance to pull off the upset.
The Eagles are a 10 point favorite for a reason, now would I bet them to cover the spread, I don’t know. But I do believe the Eagles will win this game. Eagles 23 49ers 16