Sunday's 49ers Eagles matchup is a case of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object.
The 49ers, with their cavalcade of All-Pros on offense, are the unstoppable force. The Eagles, with their relentless will to win, are the immovable object.
In order for the 49ers to get a win on Sunday, they're going to have to do three things:
1) Protect The Football The Eagles are tied with the 49ers for the 3rd highest scoring offense in the league. They obviously don't need help with extra possessions.
2) Capitalize On Turnovers and Red Zone Opportunities Ideally with touchdowns. If you do have to attempt a field goal- and I use the word have on purpose- you damn well better not miss them like the Bills did twice on Sunday.
3) Defend the Quarterback Draw Any time the Eagles get into trouble, they're going to use Jalen Hurts' legs to settle things down. When they get into the red zone, expect at least one QB draw.
It sounds simple, yet the entire Eagles' comeback on Sunday traces back to an inability of the Bills to execute those directives. They threw an interception early in the fourth quarter that set Philly up for their first score, they missed two field goals in the game, and they completely whiffed on Jalen Hurts' draw on the final play in overtime.
The 49ers have had problems of their own when it comes to these three commandments.
Let's start at the top of the list - turnovers. On the whole, the 49ers have the best turnover differential in the league at +11. In their three losses this season, however, they gave the ball away 7 times, good for a -3 turnover differential. In order to beat the Eagles, you've go to play your best - and that means never giving Philly an extra possession.
In terms of the second commandment, capitalizing on opportunities, the 49ers have also been hit or miss. In three games since the bye, the Niners have forced seven turnovers. They've scored just three times on the ensuing possessions for a total of 17 points. The entire goal against the Eagles is to not let the game stay close. How do you do that? Touchdowns over field goals, and points on extra possessions.
Which brings us to the last commandment, the quarterback draw. The Eagles know exactly how much of a weapon Hurts' legs (and Jason Kelce's blocking) are at quarterback, and they aren't afraid to use it. Here's an excellent video from Ben Solak of the Ringer to help explain:
Steve Wilks has not been afraid to call a zero blitz this year in big situations, as we're all aware. He may want to take that call out of the game plan this week.
Without a doubt Sunday is the 49ers' biggest test of the entire season. Even putting aside all the extra baggage from the NFC Championship game, the Eagles are clearly the conference's best team over the entirety of the past two seasons. If the 49ers are going to win, they're going to have to be the best version of themselves for an entire 60 minutes, something they haven't done since Week 5 against the Cowboys.