01 Oct 5 Bold Predictions That’ll Surely Come True Against the Eagles
Last week’s game against the New York Giants feels like an absolute aberration for the 49ers. The team couldn’t have played any better than they did; from the passing game, into the success of the defensive line, as well as play calling on both sides, the players and staff exceeded expectations against a lowly Giants team.
With the Philadelphia Eagles coming up, now is the time to drop some of my hottest predictions yet. I have currently hit on three of the fifteen predictions I’ve made on the season, which by all means is very good. Guess I should be an oracle, right?
Without further ado, here are my five bold predictions for the big Sunday Night Football matchup between the Eagles and 49ers.
1. Wentz will throw 4 INTs
Alright, so each prediction piece I’ve written has included 4 turnovers in total happening. It technically happened last week against the Giants, and I believe this trend will continue, with the exception that they’re all committed by Wentz. Wentz has been one of the worst rated QBs in all of football. According to PFF, he is rated at a 47.3 overall grade, good for 3rd worst in the league. He has thrown 6 interceptions through 3 weeks, which is tied for the most in the NFL. Criticism has been heavy for the Eagles, as a multitude of injuries to the WR and OL units have hindered Wentz somewhat. However, there have been many moments where Wentz has looked like he regressed greatly. In terms of reading the field and throwing the ball, he looks nothing like the QB he has been for most of his career when healthy. Nonetheless, this is a soft matchup for a 49ers team that has 2 INTs on the season. Look for Robert Saleh to dial up pressure and force Wentz out of the pocket. Wentz is playing like he has no confidence in either himself, or his pass catchers. Let’s see if the defense can make him uncomfortable and force more errant throws.
2. (Insert Name) 49ers QB Will Throw 4 TDs
Kyle Shanahan was very adamant about Jimmy Garoppolo playing in this game against the Eagles. He did ensure however, that no matter what happens with Mullens, Garoppolo is the starter moving forward. Even if Mullens starts, Garoppolo is still the guy. Either way, I foresee a big game for this 49ers offense. The unit put up 36 points against a bad Giants team with backups. Although the Giants are bad, I would argue the Eagles’ defense is no better. The Eagles rank 15th in defensive DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. Although this means the matchup is average, there’s no other offensive mind you want in this situation than Kyle Shanahan. Regardless if Mullens or Jimmy starts, Kyle was able to generate over 30 points of offense with a less-than superb staff. Look for him to continue to exploit soft matchups, as outside of the Eagles’ DL, the back 7 of the team are not world beaters. Either QB should be able to have a field day attacking a very weak secondary.
3. Brandon Aiyuk Will Have A 100+ yard game
After two weeks, Aiyuk finally got to see some action, compiling over 100 yards from scrimmage. He caught the ball against the Giants 5 times for 71 yards, and carried the ball 3 times for 31 yards. His ability to run after the catch was on full display, as he caught a signature slant route designed for a WR like Deebo Samuel. Needless to say, what he showcased was the exact reason the 49ers drafted him: a guy who can be a playmaker with the ball in his hands. Samuel’s availability is still up in the air, as he is recovering from off season foot surgery, although the 49ers did officially open his practice window so he can return and start working out. This game should be a good matchup for Aiyuk, as the Eagles’ secondary is not great. Outside of Darius Slay, the rest of the corners are ranked 69th or worse according to PFF. This is another great matchup for the offense, and an even better matchup for Aiyuk. Look for him to be even more involved in the offense than he was last week, regardless if Deebo returns.
4. A 49ers Offensive Lineman Will Score A TD
Alright, I might be riding the high off of the “fat man” TD scored by Chiefs tackle Eric Fisher, but hear me out. Year in and year out, we see teams utilize an offensive linemen in the passing game (i.e. Chiefs, Titans, etc.) Why not dial something up of that nature? This season, the 49ers have scored a TD in the red zone 61% of the time, good for 16th in the league. This number is actually solid for the team, considering their red zone scoring has been a slight issue since Kyle Shanahan became head coach. However, this is a number that should be improved. Teams who use linemen on offense is rare, but, the 49ers and Shanahan shouldn’t be afraid to get creative in the red zone. Although the Eagles are a soft matchup, I do picture both teams scoring a decent amount of points. Whether Mullens or Garoppolo is under center, this team is prepared to play, and play hard. Doing that starts with getting the offense moving, so lets hope something like this happens so every can be happy. (Even bolder, I predict Mike McGlinchey will catch the TD).
5. The Eagles Will Score Less Than 10 Points
I might be over stating the Eagles’ offensive struggles, but they have been really bad. They are ranked 28th in offensive DVOA in the league, which is the 5th worst out of all the teams. A lot of this has to do with the poor play of Carson Wentz, but the unit as a whole has been very under whelming. With the 49ers defense coming off of games that featured poor QB play (Daniel Jones, Sam Darnold) I think it’s safe to say Carson Wentz is in that category as well. Wentz has featured plenty of upside throughout his career, but as of now, it feels like he has already reached his peak, and is falling downhill. Wentz has not proven that he can elevate the play of everyone around him this season, and through three games, that trend looks to continue. Football Outsiders’ DVOA metrics tend to blend together very well. This is the 28th worst offense versus the 49ers’ 5th best defense. On paper, this matchup seems favorable. But when looking at the analytics, it’s very lopsided. Much like the Giants last week, I do not see the Eagles scoring more than 10 points. Even if the 49ers are banged up on defense, they have proven their depth can still be a big factor.