The Eagles (0-2-1) are traveling to San Francisco to play the 49ers (2-1) on Sunday Night Football.
To the predictions:
Reuben Frank (0-3)
At some point they’re going to win a game. I think. And you’d like to think that a 49ers team that might even have more injuries than the Eagles would be ripe for an upset Sunday night in Santa Clara. But I just have no faith in this Eagles team right now. It’s not like these first three weeks were a fluke. They earned this winless start. The only way they fly out of SFO Monday morning with a win is if they’re at least plus-2 in turnover differential and they can slow down the powerful 49ers run defense. And until they stop turning the ball over on offense and start forcing turnovers on defense I can’t pick them to beat anybody. Especially on the road against a talented team. At some point they are going to win a game. I just don’t think it’s going to be Sunday night.
49ers 27, Eagles 21
Dave Zangaro (0-3)
I just don’t trust the Eagles right now. And until I see them play at a higher level, I just can’t pick them to win any game, let alone one against a good team after a cross-country flight. I know the 49ers are banged up and maybe that will help the Eagles, but they’re banged up too. And I just don’t think they’ll have enough firepower to combat the 49ers.
If the Eagles have any hope to win this game, they need Carson Wentz to play better. He’s the elephant in the room during the first quarter of the season. If he plays like he did at the end of 2019, they can win. If he plays like he has to start the 2020 season, they have no chance. I don’t like their odds.
49ers 24, Eagles 20
Ray Didinger (0-3)
Bad enough the Eagles are winless through three games but here is the really scary part ... NOW the schedule gets tougher. The next three opponents -- the 49ers, the Steelers and the Ravens -- are all playoff contenders. If the Eagles can't beat tomato cans like Washington and Cincinnati, what are their chances against the heavyweights?
The 49ers come into this game just as battered as the Eagles. They are missing a half-dozen studs on defense, including Nick Bosa, Dee Ford and Solomon Thomas, and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) is out, but unlike the Eagles the 49ers have enough depth to still win games as they did last Sunday against the Giants. Nick Mullens filled in for Garoppolo and passed for 343 yards and this week tight end George Kittle (knee) is back. He should have fun working against the Eagles linebackers.
Without Bosa and Thomas, defensive coordinator Robert Saleh is blitzing more so Carson Wentz will be under pressure again. The Eagles were 0-2 on Sunday prime time last season and I think this will be more of the same.
49ers 24, Eagles 20
Barrett Brooks (1-2)
I still can’t believe my beloved Birds are three weeks into the season without a win and tied the Bengals 23-23. That was a team that went 2-14 last season, with a rookie QB and probably the worst O-line in the NFL.
I believe the only way this team can pull themselves out of this funk is to practice. The players need to work on basic fundamentals. They also need to condition their minds and bodies to take the extra step.
The likelihood of this happening is very slim against the 49ers. When I watched the tape this week (49ers vs. Giants), I saw a team that also had numerous injuries, major star power players who are out for the season. But I see a major difference in the mentality of the two teams this Sunday. The 49ers have an attitude! They play with a physicality that makes up for the shortcomings of the players lost to injury. They want to punch you in the mouth! This is why I have to pick the 49ers this weekend. Although I think my Birds have a better team collectively on paper, it’s the attitude that will make the difference in this game.
49ers 28, Eagles 10
Mike Mulhern (0-3)
If ever there was a time to catch the 49ers, it would be now. Against the Eagles, there will be no Jimmy Garoppolo. Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman are sidelined. Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas are out for the season. Richard Sherman is still on injured reserve. Dee Ford will soon join him. Just about all of San Francisco’s stars have sat out for at least a game this season. It’s a minor miracle they’re 2-1, except when you consider they played the Jets and Giants the last two weeks.
However, Sunday night will mark the return of wideout Deebo Samuel and all-pro tight end George Kittle. Kittle is a true difference maker and chess piece for Kyle Shanahan’s offense. He’ll be a factor blocking in the run game, and a top target for quarterback Nick Mullens, who led the 49ers to seven scoring drives in their eight possessions against the Giants (the only empty trip? A missed field goal!) Despite being a backup, Mullens has proven to be plenty capable, sporting a 4-5 record and a 91.5 passer rating in nine career starts for the Niners.
In order to win, the Eagles are going to have to flip the script in the turnover department. The defense will have to create takeaways (they’ve forced zero) against a 49ers team that takes excellent care of the ball (they’ve given it away once). And they’ll need Carson Wentz to play a clean game (he’s thrown two picks in every game). It doesn’t sound doable, does it? Couple in the dearth of weapons Wentz will have at his disposal, and it’s an uphill climb I don’t think the Eagles are capable of making.
49ers 27, Eagles 17