The new-look Eagles under Nick Sirianni performed well above expectations last Sunday in Atlanta. The defense was elite and the offense had a great rhythm and groove all game. The Eagles will have a step up in competition this Sunday when the 49ers come to town. This game may be tough, but there are a few keys that can lead the Eagles to success.
1. Win In The Trenches
Winning the battle in the trenches is probably the biggest and most important key to victory on Sunday. The Eagles’ philosophy has been to build in the trenches, and both the offensive and defensive lines were great last Sunday. Although it was against a weaker opponent, the Eagles offensive line was great and was able to keep Hurts upright for almost the entire game. The defense as a whole started a little slow last week, but once the defensive line got going the whole game changed. The Eagles’ front four was manhandling the Falcons and made it hard for them to move the ball. Now for Sunday, the Eagles will need that same pass rush against the Niners. The Niners have one of the best rushing attacks in the league no matter who is in the backfield. Shanahan loves to get creative and find different ways to get his playmakers the ball. For the Eagles to have success Sunday the defensive line will have to stop the run and cause pressure again. Forcing Jimmy G to throw the ball and causing pressure will be huge to the success of the defense and the overall outcome of the game. Now the offensive line will get a big test against that Niners defensive line. The Niners’ defense is built upon that line, led by star rusher Nick Bosa. The Eagles’ offensive line will need to contain Bosa and company if they want any chance to win on Sunday. Winning both battles in the trenches will almost certainly guarantee the Eagles a win on Sunday.
#Eagles in Week 1, per PFF:
2nd best pass-blocking offensive line
3rd best pass-rushing defensive line
Eagles are going to have the O/D-Line advantage in almost every game this season if they stay healthy
— Eliot Shorr-Parks (@EliotShorrParks) September 14, 2021
2. Establish The Run
The Eagles had a total of 173 rushing yards last week against the Falcons. If the Eagles can establish a run like that again against the Niners then their chances of winning greatly increase. The Niners gave up 100+ scrimmage yards to both Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift last week in Detroit. Pounding the rock with Miles and setting up the pass is a great formula for the Eagles to use Sunday. Miles looked great last week, hitting the holes and making the right cuts. If the Eagles’ offensive line can win in the trenches and give Miles some holes to hit, the Eagles’ back may be looking at another 100+ scrimmage yard performance from Miles. The legs on Jalen Hurts are another key factor to the running game. The Eagles also liked sprinkling Kenny Gainwell in the mix so expect some touches for him. Running the read-option like they did last week is another great option to have in the toolbox. Keeping the Niners’ defense off balance and not becoming a one-dimensional pass-happy offense is a huge key to success for the birds.
Kenneth Gainwell with his first NFL TD!
Eagles now have 158 rushing yards
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) September 12, 2021
3. Find A Way To Contain George Kittle
The last time the Eagles and Niners faced off, George Kittle dismantled the Eagles’ defense. Kittle racked in 15 catches for 183 yards and a touchdown. Kittle is a top-three tight end in the NFL and can be a true game wrecker if the defense isn’t properly prepared for him. The Eagles were able to limit the Falcons’ rookie tight end, Kyle Pitts, last week but this week is a different beast. The Eagles may use a variety of coverages and schemes on Kittle. We saw Slay cover Pitts at times last week so I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw some Slay on Kittle matchups. Other players like Eric Wilson and K’Von Wallace could be defenders tasked with slowing down the All-Pro tight end. Being able to contain Kittle will be key in the success of the Eagles’ defense, especially in the red zone.
George Kittle vs. Eagles:
39.9 PPR points pic.twitter.com/R0viN0gNOh
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) October 5, 2020
The first home opener under the Sirianni era is going to be a special sight. Coming off the dominant win last week fans are excited and confident in this new regime. Sunday will be a great test for the new-look Eagles.
Featured Image: Kevin C. Cox/ Getty Images