NFL Week 5: Eagles @ 49ers

PHI: 2-2, 2nd in NFC East
SF: 0-4, 4th in NFC West
Where: Candlestick Park (San Fran, Ca)
When: Sunday, 8:20 on NBC
Last time met: Dec. 20, 2009 – DeSeason Jackson caught six passes for 140 yards in a touchdown as the Eagles shut down the 49ers, 27-13, in week 15.
Last Week: Eagles lost to Washington, 17-12. San Francisco lost, 16-14, to Atlanta.

Best case scenario: Kevin Kolb and the offensive line do not suck. I’m not expecting the Eagle to light up San Francisco but I do expect a much better performance out of the line and Kolb. A clean slate with penalties and allowing Kolb time in the pocket will be the best thing for this team this week. With LeSean McCoy likely out, the running game will be a non-factor. Defensively, the Eagle should hold up and feed off the last two weeks’ success.

Worst case scenario: The line forces Kolb to get hit hard and knocked out of the game again. With no Michael Vick, Mike Kafka has to play and will not do well either. Frank Gore runs rampant on the Eagles offense, gaining yards in bunches and rushing for over 150 yards and two touchdowns.

RB Frank Gore could be a serious threat to Philly's run defense, who is coming off a poor showing last week.

Opposing player to watch – RB Frank Gore: Gore, when not battling health issues, is one of the most dangerous backfield threats in the NFL. Leading San Fran in both rushing and receiving, he could be a possible problem for the Eagles defense, which struggled against the run last week. Gore has 29 catches for 263 yards and a touchdown for San Fran while rushing for another 270 yards on 73 carries and a touchdown.

Offenses: Philadelphia took a huge blow last week in losing Vick. But Kolb played admirably well and will look to build off of that as he will look to make Philly forget about the concussion and Vick’s resurgence. But Kolb may have to do that without his favorite target, McCoy, who suffered a broken rib last Sunday. He still has targets Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek to throw to but McCoy was Kolb’s safety chord. With a week of work with the first team, hopefully Kolb won’t need to rely on dumping the ball off.

Alex Smith is not a good quarterback. He’s thrown seven interceptions to only three touchdowns this season. With ball hawks in the Birds secondary, this is not a good thing. Gore is their offense and is all the Niners really have. Michael Crabtree is a very formidable wide out but he’s been quiet this season. So has highly touted TE Vernon Davis.

Advantage: The Eagles have the weapons but will they be used? Slight advantage Birds.

Defenses: Philadelphia is coming off of two very strong perfoRmances. Despite giving up 169 yards on the ground last week to the Redskins and going up against a top back in Gore, a repeat performance isn’t highly expected. The secondary may take a huge blow with losing Asante Samuel, who suffered a concussion last week. Rookie S Nate Allen leads the team with three interceptions and is turning into an already dominant safety in the NFL. Poor tackling is still a huge concern for the Eagles’ line backers and secondary, who choose to go for the big hit rather than wrapping up.

San Fran’s defense is coming off of strong game against Atlanta, sacking Matt Ryan three times and holding Falcsons backs to 83 yards on 25 carries. Nate Clements and Shawntae Spencer each have two interceptions on the year. But the Niners have allowed 25.3 points per game, leaving them vulnerable to a poor defensive performance against Philadelphia.

Advantage: Eagles hold a strong advantage.

Injury Report
: Did not practice – A. Samual (concussion), M. Vick (ribs), L. McCoy (ribs), R. Cooper (concussion). Limited practice: N. Cole (knee).
Niners: no major injuries.

Roose’s Prediction (3-1): Eagles squeeze out a win, 13-6.


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