The Philadelphia Eagles have one game standing between them and a Super Bowl appearance. To win the NFC Championship Game, they will need to overcome an extremely talented and well-coached San Francisco 49ers football team. This will be a full team effort, rookies included. Here are things to look for from the Eagles’ youth.
Can Reed Blankenship keep his head?
Kyle Shanahan’s offense is built to manipulate defenses and exploit their mistakes. With players like Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, the Niners can deploy multiple looks and formations with these players all over the field to create mismatches. The Niners will pull out every stop to get the ball in the hands of their various playmakers and limiting the big play will be crucial in what should be a defensive battle. Reed Blankenship’s rookie season has been highlighted by steady, heady football where the safety is able to play smart but physical football. The Eagles don’t need Blankenship to be a playmaker in this game, though that would be nice. They simply need him to keep San Francisco from creating any big plays on the ground or through the air.
Jordan Davis and the battle in the trenches.
In what is shaping up to be a heavyweight fight, performance in the trenches will be crucial. The 49ers have an underrated offensive line and god knows they want to run the football. Setting the tone on the line of scrimmage will be important for the Eagles. Jordan Davis is the perfect player to anchor Philly’s defensive line against a 49ers rushing attack. This is exactly the kind of game the Eagles drafted Jordan Davis for.
Can the special teams rookie find a big play somewhere?
The Eagles will need every big play and every yard they can muster. Offense and defense are crucial, of course, but special teams performance will be as important as it has ever been. The Eagles have Nakobe Dean and Josh Jobe on their coverage teams. Containing the 49ers returners, downing punts deep in their territory, and maybe even forcing a fumble could be the difference in this game. On returns, the Eagles could use the hidden yardage. It would be great if Britain Covey could spring even one big return in the game. That could be the difference.