ABSOLUTE domination from start to finish last week. The national media spent last week hyping a hollow giants team, and we beat the numbers off their jerseys. This week’s opponent has grown fat off of teams that specialize in hurting themselves. This week they have the wrong opponent. In the wrong house. In front of the wrong crowd.
Eagles QB Jalen Hurts is going to show what it means to lead a team to victory, instead of just being along for the ride. Which is what’s happening on the 49ers sideline. I mean, could you imagine hyping a QB for playing like the best version of Daniel Jones?
The national media isn’t saying “Look at him make jaw-dropping play after play!” They’re saying “Oh look at how he doesn’t make huge mistakes!”Well, OLB Haason Reddick, DT Javon Hargrave, SS Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, CB Darius Slay, and others, are about to put that kid to the test. Context is on the way!
A win punches our ticket to Super Bowl LVII. While I cannot guarantee a win like I did last week, the odds of winning are HEAVILY in our favor. We are all but inevitable.
A loss cannot be entirely ruled out here. The chance exists that we don’t pull this one. Having acknowledged it however, the chance is pretty damned small.
The point of Four Things isn’t to predict a winner, it’s to discuss which tactics would give our Eagles the best chance to win this game. So here are the Four Things that we need to focus on this week, versus the: 49ers
1) Set Hard Edges: The 9ers are a run-based offense that uses lots of misdirection to open holes. Stay disciplined, and don’t fall for the eye-candy. With the way they like to goof around in the backfield, if we don’t fall for the smoke and mirrors, their ball carrier is liable to run smack into a defender.
Have DE’s Brandon Graham and Josh Sweat establish hard boundaries on the ends of the offensive line, to either bottle runs up inside, or force them far outside where there’s no blocking. Understand, the idea isn’t to “shutdown” their run. (They’re too good for that.) The idea is to just make it unreliable, and destabilize their offense.
2) Pick Purdy: You’ve heard the expression “Pick your poison”. Here we should pick their rookie QB. Yep! Just force them to beat us with a seventh round, rookie QB, making his eighth start, on the road, in one of sport’s most hostile environments. Oh, I promised you context.
This kid’s wins? A bad Tampa Bay with no offensive line; Seattle’s 26th ranked defense; The Commanders; The Raiders 28th ranked defense; Arizona playing their 3rd string QB; Wild Card Seattle on the road; and Dallas last week. THIS is what all the hype has been about! So if I’m picking my poison, I’m picking that Purdy lil’ QB.
3) Run The Ball: Usually I mean hand-offs when I say this, but against this opponent, I mean anybody. While RB Miles Sanders should be our hammer early, RB’s Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott should each see at least 6 carries apiece, mostly in the second half.
Also, the 9ers defense is smallish upfront. The DE playing across from 365 pound LT Jordan Mailata, is only about 245. They don’t have a LB over 230. We need to physically wear them down, and then wear them out. It also bears mentioning that all four of their losses came against mobile QB’s. (Note: They didn’t face QB Kyler Murray at all this season.)
4) Throw It Deep: Do not allow their defense to dictate our attack. Two of their three CB’s are decidedly overrated. They all do a great job of taking away the quick stuff, but downfield, the Wards can be had.
They play a lot of Cover Three, but we should be able to short circuit that, with WR Quez Watkins working deep in the Slot. Even if they’re just dummy routes to hold the FS. With enough protection that’s a one-on-one down either sideline.
If the Eagles do these Four Things, then we’ll be virtually impossible to beat. That being said…
There are a ton of surface indicators which make this game seem a lot more even, than it truly is. What people seem to be (deliberately) looking past, is context. As you know, I never look past context. Context is what makes facts come alive!
At times this season, when the kid has gotten into trouble, their coach has protected him by getting the ball out of his hands with either quick passes, or more running plays. If we take those away, he has to play big boy QB, which puts him right in DT Fletcher Cox’s cross-hairs.
Prediction: EAGLES 24 – 49ers 15
WARNING: I don’t have the faintest clue as to what a point spread is, and I know even less about how it works. I know football and that’s IT. If you use Four Things as a gambling tool, you are trying to lose your money, and will deserve it when you do.
Check back in a couple of days for Four Things Reviewed, and we’ll discuss how this game went.