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Eagles vs. 49ers Game Preview: 5 questions and answers with the enemy

Previewing Philadelphia’s Week 13 matchup.

San Francisco 49ers vs Philadelphia Eagles Perry Knotts/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles are hosting the San Francisco 49ers — ever hear of ‘em? — at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday afternoon. In order to preview this highly-anticipated Week 13 matchup, I reached out to our enemies over at Niners Nation. The radiant Ryan Bainbridge kindly took the time to answer my questions about this upcoming battle. Let’s take a look at the answers. [For my answers to questions about the Eagles, stay tuned to NN.]

1) To what extent do you think the 49ers doing a lot of trash talking after their NFC Championship Game loss has put extra pressure on them to win this game?

I think it’s easy to see where the 49ers players were coming from, frustrated that they lost their quarterback. Obviously that changes the outcomes of NFL games. For example the two Gardner Minshew starts for the Eagles last season that resulted in back to back losses.

Both teams are confident, arguably cocky, about this matchup and for good reason. They’re both strong teams. I don’t see how trash talk will put any added pressure on one side or the other, since both sides have been engaging in it this week. There’s no extra motivation needed for either team. This game likely has a major impact on final NFC standings, so it’s important for more reasons than just the rematch of last year’s Championship game.

2) What went wrong during the 49ers’ three-game losing streak and how did they get back on track?

The issues boiled down to two things basically. Turnovers, and inconsistency from the secondary. The 49ers offense was still efficient during that stretch, except for giving the ball away on several key drives, especially in the Vikings and Browns losses.

The defense was more concerning after getting torched by Cousins and Burrow in back to back weeks. Since that time, they traded for Chase Young to help apply more pressure to quarterbacks forcing them to throw quicker. They’ve moved DC Steve Wilks down to the sideline to call plays and his engagement with the players has been an extra jolt. And they have made some switches at cornerback. Ambry Thomas is finally healthy and playing at a high level on the outside, which has allowed Deommodore Lenoir to take over the nickel spot which was failing the rest of the defense at times.

3) What’s one matchup that you think really favors the 49ers?

There are so many evenly matched position battles between these two teams but I think the most lopsided is San Francisco’s tight ends and running backs against the Eagles middle of the field coverage.

Christian McCaffrey and George Kittle are top two players at their respective positions and difficult matchups for linebackers and safeties, especially in man-to-man. The Eagles are allowing a QBR of 95.6 between the hashes and have given up 6 receiving touchdowns to tight ends this season.

4) What’s one matchup that you think really favors the Eagles?

No question it is the Eagles pass rush versus the Niners offensive line. Haason Reddick was a menace in the NFC Championship game and the San Francisco offensive line is arguably worse than a year ago. Colton McKivitz is the lone new starter, replacing Mike McGlinchey at right tackle. McGlinchey had his fair share of losses to Reddick in last year’s matchup and we haven’t seen an upgrade in the level of play to assume those issues are a thing of the past.

Brock Purdy has been getting the ball out so quickly it’s hid some of the weaknesses up front but the right side of the line and interior unit in general has had some really bad reps. Those giant defensive tackles for Philly could wreck the entire San Francisco gameplan.

5) Who wins this game and why? With DraftKings Sportsbook listing the Eagles as 3-point home underdogs, what’s your score prediction? And what are your expectations for the rest of this Niners season?

Niners have been dominant in their wins this season and outside of the Rams 7-point final, they haven’t had a one-score victory. Philadelphia has much more experience in close games, winning 7 of 8 such contests. That’s definitely worrisome because it feels like this will be a tight game. But things could bend either way.

I like San Francisco’s chances with their lights out play since coming out of the bye, plus their extra rest from playing last Thursday. I think Niners win and cover, probably by a touchdown. The expectation for the rest of the season is a Super Bowl victory. They’re the oddsmakers favorites to win it all and it’s what the roster has been constructed for.

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