When San Francisco Has the Ball
Frank Gore is hurt, again. Michael Crabtree has been ineffective, again. The points in San Francisco will have to come from all directions: special teams, defense, offense and any other method possible.
The 49ers have done a great job capitalizing on mistakes of their opposition, and it helps that their special teams are among the best in the NFL right now.
Alex Smith will be under pressure all day as the Philadelphia defensive line fires off on him. The 49er tackles can be beaten with outside speed moves, and that's what the Eagles do best. If Vernon Davis has to stay in to block, San Francisco may have to abandon the passing game altogether.
That's good news for Gore (if he plays) and Kendall Hunter. San Francisco is good enough to run the ball for over 150 yards, and its special teams are good enough to make up for the nonexistent passing game.
When Philadelphia Has the Ball
The key stat to know this weekend: San Francisco hasn't allowed a 100-yard rusher in 25 straight games. Chances are that streak won't end this weekend.
Philadelphia has its own injury concerns, as both Michael Vick and Jeremy Maclin are questionable. With the already weak offensive line, any loss of talent on the offensive side of the ball is a huge blow.
The Eagles offensive line has been a huge issue; that cannot be overstated. The San Francisco front seven is very good. This game will be won up front when Philadelphia has the ball.
Prediction: San Francisco 17, Philadelphia 13