49ers vs. Eagles: 5 Bold Predictions for Philadelphia's Week 4 Matchup
You would be hard-pressed to find a better opponent than the San Francisco 49ers.
Is Alex Smith the quarterback? Are they from the NFC West? Is this their second consecutive road game?
Check off all three and it's safe to call this game a lock.
Don't listen to the any-given-sunday talk. The 49ers are one of the worst teams vying for a playoff berth and no more than an 8-8 or 9-7 team.
And don't worry about what happened against the Giants. The 49ers have no one on either side of the ball to cause any concerns for the Eagles. Frank Gore might make you a little uneasy, but then you need to remind yourself how easily Smith can make the offense implode.
It was only one year ago when the fans at Candlestick Park chanted David Carr's name. If that doesn't let you know how bad Smith is nothing will.
The only reason to watch Sunday's game is to see how much the Eagles win by and if anybody can put up mind-numbing numbers.
The bold predictions are ranked in order and are related to each other. You will see what I mean as we go through the slides.
5. Eagles Win by at Least 20
The Eagles have picked up at least two 20-point wins per season since 2008.
It's pretty impressive when you consider the up-and-down nature of the league. But that's what the Eagles do. They rack up big wins against teams that flat-out suck.
Right now the point spread for this game is hovering around 10 points depending where you look. Asking for the Eagles to sprinkle in an extra touchdown and field goal is not asking for much against an average football team.
The Eagles might out-stat the Niners by 300 yards, which should lead to a huge advantage on the scoreboard.
For those who are searching for a football-rich explanation, please refer to the picture above. It's all you need to know.
4. Andy Reid's Hot Seat Gets Hotter
This is the classic Andy Reid game.
The Eagles will roll the 49ers, put up a ton of points and appear to have things under control. It may even cause a fan in Cleveland to whine, "I wish we could win as many games as you."
Thank goodness Philadelphia fans don't have the mindset of Cleveland fans. Winning games is simply not good enough anymore. And a win against an inferior opponent carries little to no weight.
Everyone is beginning to see through Reid and games like this that are hollow in meaning.
Reid can make a handful of mistakes and get away with it because the talent on his roster blows away the talent on the other side of the field.
The odd part about this win is how much the criticism will escalate. The talk will center around Reid's inability to knock off noteworthy opponents and his failure to come through in clutch situations during recent years.
3. The Linebackers Look Good but Are Still Seen as a Weakness
Back to Alex Smith. This mutt is so bad he can make any defense look good.
This slide also ties into the Eagles winning by at least 20. A huge lead will force Smith to throw the ball often against an obviously formidable secondary and a defensive line that thrives on getting after the quarterback.
Smith will also have to overcome his own obstacles. He's not mobile. He can't locate open receivers well. And when he does find a target he can't hit it.
The linebackers will appear to have a good game. Ah, but the Eagles fans once again see through the lies and recognize it happened by default. Similar to Reid, everyone will wonder if they can play well against a real team with real weapons.
2. LeSean McCoy Rushes for 200 Yards
Outside of winning this game, the Eagles' biggest priority is to protect Michael Vick as much as possible.
Reid is going to throw the ball to get the lead. Once a solid lead is established, LeSean McCoy will get plenty of carries and eventually eclipse 200 yards rushing.
The reasoning? Well, it's a hunch that can't be backed up with a logical reason.
San Francisco is third in the NFL against the run with 62.7 yards allowed per game so this clearly qualifies as a bold statement.
The single-game rushing record for the Eagles sits at 205 yards. The record was set back in 1949 by Steve Van Buren. When someone calls for a 62-year-old record to fall you better believe it's bold.
1. Michael Vick Plays the Entire Game
If someone thought the Eagles would win by at least 20 points and the starting running back would rush for over 200 yards, wouldn't logic suggest the starting quarterback would eventually get the hook to prevent injury?
Not in this case.
Vick and Reid will prove Vick can survive an entire game.
Over the last two weeks Vick has failed to finish what he started and it is causing everyone to question Vick's durability and how Reid utilizes one of the most athletic quarterbacks in the NFL. Finding a way to have Vick play the entire game will go a long way in calming some, but not all nerves.
Don't forget that Reid left Vick in for the entire season opener despite the Eagles holding an 18-point cushion. And don't forget Vick played into the fourth quarter when the Eagles were up by 31 against the Washington Redskins last year.
The other part of this being the top-rated bold statement is Vick finding a way to avoid injury. Increased handoffs to McCoy in the second half and a watchful eye from the refs will go a long way in keeping Vick upright.
Vick's rant against the refs following last week's loss against the Giants has to buy him a few calls this week. The added protection will then cause defenders to play a little more cautiously when Vick is in the pocket.
The key is Vick staying in the pocket. When he complained about the refs he didn't talk about shots he took while running. His beef came from the hits he took while in the pocket.