Eyes on the Enemy: San Francisco 49ers

The Eagles head into their home opener against the 49ers off the back of an impressive win in Atlanta. Jalen Hurts impressed at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium and will be hoping to replicate that on Sunday afternoon. San Francisco had an up and down week one. They stormed out to a 38-10 lead before Detroit had the chance to tie the game on the final drive with the score at 41-33. There were multiple 49ers injuries during the game, and other players have struggled with knocks throughout the week. The Eagles will be hoping to take advantage of their opponent's injury woes.


What changed for San Francisco?


The 49ers made a huge trade to get up to the third overall pick in the 2021 draft, and after months of speculation, they drafted Trey Lance. The rookie was on the field a handful of times against the Lions and threw a touchdown on his first-ever play. That will be something the Eagles will need to watch out for. San Francisco also lost star defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, who became the Head Coach of the New York Jets. Saleh was replaced by former Eagles fan favourite Demeco Ryans in the defensive coordinator position.


The Biggest Threat- Their Defensive live


The deepest area for San Francisco, which will always give their defense an edge. Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw are both injury doubts but trained late in the week, giving them a chance of playing. However, Dee Ford and Nick Bosa are enough to cause any offensive line issues. Both had a sack against the Lions and will be hoping to get another one or two against a solid Eagles offensive line. Jordan Mailata, who recently signed his big contract extension, will have his biggest test in an Eagles uniform yet, as he faces off against Bosa. A solid performance against one of the NFL's finest edge rushers will only see his stock amongst the league rise. If the Eagles are able to win in the trenches, it should set them up for victory.


What to Target- Dominate the 49ers linebackers


The 49ers ruled out Dre Greenlaw for Sunday's game as he went onto the team's injured reserve. Without him, the San Francisco linebacker core becomes significantly weaker. Marcell Harris may still not play and will be a game-time decision. The absence of those two will be music to the ears of Miles Sanders, Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz. Fred Warner will still be a constant threat, but the linebackers around him will be nowhere near as dangerous now Greenlaw is out. The 49ers even called up former Eagles linebacker Nate Gerry, and no one can forget some of his excellent plays from last season. If he sees the field, expect the Eagles to try and target him.


Who else to watch out for:


Deebo Samuel- Samuel cemented his place as Kyle Shanahan's wide receiver one last Sunday with an incredible performance against the Lions defense. He ran them ragged at times. Samuel had 189 yards and a touchdown off nine receptions as he made up for all the time he missed due to injury last season. He will have a difficult afternoon if he is covered by Darius Slay, who shut Calvin Ridley down when covering him against Atlanta. Despite this, Samuel is such a versatile receiver that he can hurt defenses in more ways than one. It will be intriguing to see how he is utilised.


Jimmie Ward- One of the unsung heroes of the San Fran defense, Ward was rewarded with a contract extension in 2020 after his brilliant 2019 season and showed why he deserved it. He was one of the constants in that 49ers defense and still allowed them to play at a high level despite all of the injuries around them. They will need to count on him and Fred Warner through the spine of that defense to keep things organised on Sunday.




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