I’m not so sure.
Again, a trap game is defined by a team feeling too good about themselves and and looking ahead to the next week. The Broncos are an AFC team that hasn’t even played well recently.
As far as the “feeling too good about themselves” part is concerned, it’s not lost on the Eagles that they suffered two major injuries on Monday night against Washington. Jason Peters and Jordan Hicks are now out for the year. Those are big losses. Players know they’ll have to step up in order to make sure those losses don’t sink what has the makings of a promising season.
To be honest, I also think the trap game angle is something we talk about because we trick ourselves into thinking things can never be as straightforward as they seem. I get it — it’s Any Given Sunday. And the Eagles have lost some games when they’ve been heavily favored (Joe Webb, John Skelton, etc.).
But this team really just does feel different. It’s not a fluke that the Eagles have the best record in the NFL. They’re winning games because they’re legitimately good.
The 49ers, meanwhile, are losing games because they’re legitimately bad. Just look at their roster and you can see it’s not exactly loaded with talent primed to win now.
This tilt could be as simple as: the Eagles are the better team and they’re going to beat an inferior opponent at home. That’s the goal.
Now, just because the 49ers are bad doesn’t mean they’re totally incapable of winning. They’re obviously shown some fight this season, becoming the first team to lose five games in a row by three points or fewer.
When you look at this game from a matchup perspective, however, the 49ers just don’t seem primed for success. The Eagles rank No. 1 in run defense. Carlos Hyde is one of San Francisco’s best offensive options. If Philly can shut Hyde down, there will be a ton of pressure on rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard to throw the ball a lot. The 49ers just aren’t going to win this game if Beathard has to pass something like 40 times.
Beathard can’t hold a candle to the level of play the Eagles are getting right now from their quarterback: Carson Wentz. Wentz is playing like the league MVP and he’ll have a chance to solidify his campaign this Sunday against a 49ers defense that’s vulnerable to giving up plays through the air. San Francisco ranks 28th in yards allowed per pass attempt.
The one X-factor in this game is the weather. It’s possible the rain could make no real difference. But maybe things get ugly and sloppy, which could close the gap between the Eagles and the 49ers. Maybe Wentz, who played in a dome in college, isn’t going to thrive in these conditions. Or maybe all these conversations about the rain will look dumb by the time he’s thrown five touchdowns through the third quarter.
I really think the Eagles will win this game. Their defensive line inspires so much confidence, especially since the 49ers might be playing without both their starting right guard and right tackle. Philadelphia should be able to get to Beathard, who was sacked five times last week.
Even if the Eagles don’t have a great offensive performance, their defense (and special teams) can do enough to make sure they still get that W.
Score prediction: Eagles win, 27-10.
Bold prediction: Alshon Jeffery catches two touchdowns today.
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