Friday, September 22, 2006

Game 3 Preview

if this year's eagles team is not a fraud and they are as good as i think they are, then this game against the 49ers should be no contest.

i'll lay out my thoughts at the end, but first what some others think about the game:

footballoutsiders.com
- eagles drop one spot to 6th overall in DVOA, move up to 1st in offense and 16th in defense, while dropping to 15th for special teams
- 49ers rank a surprising 10th overall, 5th in offense, 19th in defense, and 7th for special teams
- interestingly, the giants drop from 10th to 18th after their "win" last week
Eagles fans: still have that cold feeling in the pit of your stomach? Darwin Walker empathizes. "It hurts me all the way down to my soul," he said after last week's overtime loss to the Giants. The next two weeks will help ease the pain. These Niners aren't last year's pushovers — they've acquired a decent pass rush and, thanks to running back Frank Gore, a wisp of an offense — but they're not ready to beat a good team. Next week, the Packers head to Philly for what should be another easy win. The key is bouncing back from the Debacle at the Linc, but Brian Dawkins doesn't sound too worried. "We've got too many cats on this team that are winners. Too many who have been to Super Bowls and playoff games. We know losses are going to happen. You've just got to stay on an even keel."
les bowen
IF THERE'S no Brian Westbrook, the six-point line starts to look generous. And there's always the possibility the Eagles are just too banged up at crucial spots, such as cornerback. But despite last Sunday's collapse and despite the 49ers' upset of the Rams, the Eagles are the better team, and they should be plenty motivated. Jim Johnson does pretty well confusing young quarterbacks. Donovan McNabb looks sharp and hungry. The Birds are capable of losing this game - hey, after last Sunday, you have to figure they're capable of just about anything - but they shouldn't lose it. If they do, their season takes on an entirely different tone.

Prediction: Eagles 27, 49ers 20
sf chronicle
Quarterback Donovan McNabb and the Eagles squandered a 17-point lead last week in a loss to their NFC East rivals the New York Giants. The 49ers feel validation following a victory over the Rams. Philly has lost defensive leader Javon Kearse for the season (knee) and may be vulnerable.

Pick: 49ERS

espn scouts inc
The Eagles need to play a complete game against the 49ers. In the first two games of the regular season, the Eagles have built early leads and started to get sloppy. Against the Texans it did not matter, but against a good football team like the Giants, it spelled disaster.

The Eagles need to stop the run and get an early lead, forcing the 49ers into a passing mode. The 49ers need to establish the run and keep the Eagles' high-powered offense off the field, while taking shots off play action to take advantage of the Eagles' young corners. These two offenses can put up a lot of points in a hurry. This could be a high- scoring game.

Prediction: Eagles 31, 49ers 24
what i think
the 49ers feature a young potential star at QB, an incredibly talented running back just getting healthy after a devastating knee injury in college, a gifted wideout who has great ball skills, and a young defense with a talented secondary. however, i believe none of that is going to matter in this game. the eagles will come out to redeem themselves and the 49ers will be roadkill. expect the niners offense to score some points in this game, but it will be no contest as the eagles offense will score early and often.

niners o vs. eagles d
alex smith is athletic, throws an accurate ball, and was supposed to be the smartest QB in last year's draft. i haven't seen him play this year, but his numbers indicate that he's made huge strides since last season and he's well on his way to being a success. frank gore is a stud and, if he is all the way back, he can be the best running back in the nfl. antonio bryant is finally getting a chance to prove that he can be a number 1 wideout. starting with the draft, when he came into the league as a potential top 10 pick who slipped into the second round, there seems to always have been something holding him down in the pros. now he's the number one guy building a rapport with a young QB and he brings great ball skills and good hands with him.

none of that is going to matter. alex smith may be talented, but he's still a 2nd year QB. if JJ cannot befuddle him in this game, JJ should retire now as he's lost his touch. expect to see a lot of confusion from smith and a couple of picks. frank gore is talented, but he still needs holes to run through. the niners o-line is improved, but should be no match for the eagles d-line (even without freak). antonio bryant is a good wideout, but is also a good matchup for sheldon brown. sheldon struggles against pure speed guys and tall wideouts, bryant is neither of those. bryant has good quickness but lacks deep speed. he has good ball skills, but at 6' 1" (i've also seen him listed at 6' 2") he won't necessarily tower over sheldon. i'd like to see JJ match up sheldon on bryant instead of locking him to a side of the field.

i expect the niners to be able to score some points because they do have some talented players, but not enough to win.

eagles 0 vs niners d
with or without westbrook, the eagles will score points. they have the top offense in the nfl according to football outsiders and have gained more yards this season than any other team.

the niners defense is young and they have some holes at d-line and linebacker. maybe it's just hubris, but i have no fear of the niners defense. i just can't see them slowing down don and that o-line very much. the birds should be able to run on them and protect don long enough for receivers to find holes.

prediction: eagles 38 - 49ers 24

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Phil said...

For some reason this game worries me more now than last week's against this Gints. Maybe it's that I've got Bryant on my fantasy team and the 49ers look frisky. Maybe it's the inability of the Eagles to put people away. Maybe it's that fear that the "door" is not only closed, but welded shut.

Please, oh please, Pete, be right. . .

9:10 PM EDT  
Anonymous we-was said...

Relax, Phil.

If this isn't an easy win against the 49ers, you really don't have to worry about the rest of the season anyway....

7:45 PM EDT  
Anonymous we-was said...

Pretty damn close on the prediction, Pete.

Ben

8:36 PM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

Since when is exactly right, just pretty close? Well done.

9:04 PM EDT  
Anonymous we-was said...

Well said, Phil. To be honest, I wasn't paying much attention by the end of the game. Nice job, Pete.

Ben

9:28 PM EDT  

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