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Eagles rookie storylines for the 49ers game

Buffalo Bills v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Eagles have kept their head above water in a brutal stretch of games, going undefeated over the last three games against some of the best teams in the league. Another huge test is on the horizon as the 49ers come to Philly on Sunday as the one real threat to the Eagles position in the NFC. The Eagles will be challenged by the 49ers explosive offense and their playmaking defense, and Philly’s rookies will have some big tests ahead of them.

Jalen Carter needs to carry the load for a banged up defensive line.

Putting huge expectations on the rookie is hardly fair, but the Eagles need a big game from Carter on Sunday. Not only is pressuring Brock Purdy and plugging up Christian McCaffrey’s run lanes crucial, Carter might not have a lot of help on Sunday. Fletcher Cox and Jordan Davis are all dealing with injuries. Carter will likely play a lot of snaps and making the most out of them is crucial against such a dangerous San Francisco offense.

A unique opportunity for Nolan Smith?

The Eagles linebackers are in bad shape. Zach Cunningham will be out for a while and the Eagles are down to just two healthy off-ball linebackers. This is not an ideal situation for the team but may present a sliver of hope for Nolan Smith to get on the field and make a difference. He has yet to make an impact rushing the passer off the edge and its possible his speed could be an asset playing off ball and attacking the line of scrimmage with a running start. Smith has seen some time off ball, so it is something the coaching staff has knocking around in their head. It will be interesting to see if they want to keep experimenting with Smith’s skill-set to get the most out of him this year.

Tall task for the rookie defensive backs

The Eagles have relied on Sydney Brown and Eli Ricks as subpackage defenders this season. The rookies have had to cover Tyreek Hill, Puka Nacua, Ceedee Lamb, Travis Kelce and a handful of other talented pass catchers. Fresh out the frying pan and into the fire for the first year defenders. It is not going to get easier on Sunday. The 49ers have the best group of skill players in the NFL with Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk, and an underrated Juan Jennings running around. Not only are they loaded on offense but they will line up these players everywhere. It is very possible Ricks and Brown have snaps covering every one of these guys. It will be no easy outing for the two players, but they have shown bright spots this year and have a chance to step up even further.

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