49ers week 8 preview and prediction: San Francisco at Philadelphia Eagles

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C.J. Beathard and his 49ers teammates face the grim prospect of trying to get their first win against the Eagles in Philadelphia.

This season, and the next, are a wash. This team is so deficient of talent, highlighted by a 40-10 trouncing of the 49ers at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys. The 49ers will attempt to bounce back Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, but after Carson Wentz displayed his full array of talents on Monday Night Football, it is easy to surmise that the Niners chances of winning in Philadelphia are slim to none — and slim just left town.

San Francisco faces the NFC’s best team and even though Philadelphia had attrition at key positions– with the loss of All-Pro LT Jason Peters with a torn MCL and ACL and LB Jordan Hicks with a ruptured Achilles– Eagles QB Carson Wentz is having a superb sophomore season and is more than capable of making up for the deficiencies the Eagles will face.

San Francisco will utilize the duration of the season to assess a talent deficient roster. The Niners can use upgrades at every position. This isn’t a roster with many difference makers or game breakers.

Philadelphia is coming off of a dominant victory over Washington, and they will seek to extend their winning streak against a glorified expansion football team.

San Francisco will attempt an upset at Lincoln Financial Field 10:05 a.m. PT and can be watched on the FOX Network.

Essentials to win the game
The 49ers need to manage the clock better just to have a chance of being competitive. The offensive line, which has been fairly consistent in pass protection, has failed to provide rookie QB C.J. Beathard with adequate time to survey the field. The offensive line is maddening as a unit. Then again, so has every aspect of the 49er roster. The offensive line is stout in pass protection and can’t run block in one week, and can run block and can’t pass protect in another. Preventing Philadelphia’s defensive line from wreaking havoc is their gameplan.

49er receivers will have the opportunity, if the line holds up, to take advantage of a porous Eagle secondary. The Niners can help their causes with play action passing, but the offensive line must open holes for RBs Carlos Hyde and Matt Breida. If the Niners are able to stay on the field and kill the clock, they’ll make this another close game.

Defensively, San Francisco are up against it this week. The Niners don’t force the requisite pressure needed to disrupt the Eagles offense. With the injury to Jason Peters, the Eagles offensive line will be in a state of flux. The 49ers have to manufacture pass rush, either by playing DE Elvis Dumervil more or by blitzing more.

Possible downfalls to avoid
The 49ers cannot afford to put their defense behind the 8-ball with turnovers and special teams miscues. Any semblance of a short field for the Eagles is going to result in points most likely to come in the form of touchdowns.

If the front seven of the Niner defense is unable to get to Carson Wentz, he will have time to pick the 49ers apart. San Francisco cannot afford to find themselves fall behind early in the game. If they do, Philadelphia’s defense is too fast and disciplined to allow the 49ers to get back into the game.

Player spotlight
Whomever Eagles DL Fletcher Cox lines up across is going to have a tall task. Guards Laken Tomlinson and Brandon Fusco will need to establish pocket depth for C.J. Beathard. If the Niners are to stand a chance, they will rely on the these two to limit the amount of damage Cox inflicts.

San Francisco CBs Rashard Robinson and K’waun Williams will have their hands full. Williams will be lined up against Philadelphia slot WR Nelson Agholor, who has found his career rejuvenated by the move to the slot. Robinson will be tasked with covering either the formidable WR Alshon Jeffrey or the speedy WR Torrey Smith. Throwing against Robinson is where Carson Wentz is going to have a field day. Robinson has been a penalty machine and on the bad side of big plays. The Niners have sought to spell and replace Robinson with rookie CB Ahkello Witherspoon, but thus far he has been equally ineffective.

Game Projection
San Francisco is weakest at preventing outcomes where the Eagles are strong. Carson Wentz is going to have a field day against the 49ers secondary. The 49ers will not be able to get consistent pressure on the Eagles, and even when they do, Carson Wentz will utilize his escapability to extend plays and make plays downfield or with his legs. In an attempt to get the best 11 players on the field, San Francisco moved Eric Reid from safety to linebacker. Reid looked out of place at linebacker, and it would not be odd for the Eagles will utilize TE Zach Ertz against Reid.

Reuben Foster’s return to the action was not without a scare. Foster left briefly the game with a rib injury. Although he was cleared to return to the game, the San Francisco coaching staff opted to have Foster sit out the duration of the game. Foster is going to have play like linebackers of Niners lore if they are to compete.

Carson Wentz will throw for 320 yards and 4 touchdowns. Jeffery and Smith each will torch Rashard Robinson for a score. Jeffrey will end the day with 80 yards, and Smith will finish the day north of 100. The Eagles will get a defensive score on a Beathard turnover.

The Niners currently sit as a 13 point underdog and sit at 4-2 against the spread for the year. In week 8, the Niners will travel back home with a loss and fall to 0-8 in a 35-7 spanking.


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