Week 3 was ridiculous for the Eagles and their fans. It was seemingly a must-win game for the Eagles, until the rest of their division decided to lose as well. As it stands now, the Eagles are just a half a game out of first in the division, somehow.
The game went about how we expected it to. For some time, the game ran pretty slowly, but it picked up in the second quarter. I predicted a narrow Eagles victory, and the over. Unfortunately, both teams seemed to turtle in overtime, with the Eagles opting to literally punt the game away in the end. On the season, we are 4-2 on Eagles picks between the spread and the over/under. For the Eagles and their fans, this season just appears to be getting worse, as Carson Wentz appears to be as rattled and erratic as we’ve ever seen. He was outplayed by the unflappable Joe Burrow last week, as Burrow was sacked eight times, but still managed to make a plethora of good throws throughout the game.
After putting up with such poor performances through the first three weeks of the season, we have to start to wonder, are the Eagles just going to ride out Wentz until he gets it together? At some point, if this keeps up, will it ruin the Eagles’ chances this season? Are we at the point where someone needs to convince Wentz he’s injured so we can see what Jalen Hurts can do? The Eagles had better get it going fast, because with the offense they have in Dallas, it’s only a matter of time before the Cowboys get rolling.
Week 4 Preview
Week 4 for the Eagles will be a long road trip on Sunday night to San Francisco. The 49ers have been playing well since their Week 1 loss to the Cardinals. Though, it’s probably worth noting those wins came against the Jets and the Giants.
Regardless, the 49ers are a dynamic run-first offense with a solid front four defensive line. Even with Bosa out, the 49ers are formidable upfront and should give Wentz trouble. Wentz’s big issue this season has been pressure, and he’ll certainly get no respite on Sunday.
The 49ers expect to have star tight end George Kittle back for the game. Their running backs have been a carousel this season. Raheem Mostert headlined the three-headed attack through the first two weeks, while Jerrick McKinnon stepped up as the lead back last week. Regardless of who is touching the ball, the 49ers have a potent and dynamic rushing attack.
This game, on paper, seems like a good matchup for the Eagles. However, Carson Wentz is playing like a rookie and the defensive front is solid, but the secondary is a mess. The only good prospect of this matchup is the opposing quarterback. If Jimmy Garoppolo is out again, the secondary issues may not be as egregious.
I think the Eagles have a better shot than we expect this week. Defensively, the issues shouldn’t be as highlighted this week, assuming Nick Mullens is the quarterback.
Offensively, it’s all about the play of Carson Wentz and whether or not he can get it together, keep his composure in the pocket, and make the throws he’s expected to make.
Week 4 Prediction
The Eagles should be able to move the ball on the ground. Don’t be fooled by the 49ers’ #3 rush defense ranking thus far. The Cardinals, Jets, and Giants are the three weakest running back teams any team has faced this season. The Giants and Jets were at the bottom in 2019, and the Cardinals have failed to get Kenyan Drake running space thus far in 2020.
I don’t expect a lot of rushing success for Sanders, but I do expect the Eagles will try to take some pressure off Wentz by employing Sanders more as a receiver out of the backfield. If Alshon is back, it should go a long way towards finding some consistency in the passing game against a 49er secondary that has issues against receivers more frequently in 2020.
I think this game will be a struggle for both teams on the ground. If the Eagles can commit to slowing the 49ers ground attack and utilizing a variety of run blitzes, they can force the hand of Nick Mullens in the passing game.
Ideally, the 49ers depleted pass-catching corps is the preferable choice of poisons here, so I think the Eagles will recognize and move towards that strategy. Unfortunately, I expect the 49ers will get out to a decent lead and suffocate the Eagles as the game transpires.