2 Key Matchups to Watch When the Eagles Host the 49ers
After a impressive 32-6 win over the Atlanta Falcons to start the 2021 season, the Eagles return home for their first game in Philadelphia against the San Francisco 49ers.
Like the Eagles, the 49ers suffered a ton of injuries last season, leading to a disappointing 6-10 record, last in the NFC West.
While the Eagles took care of the Falcons with ease in Week 1, the 49ers went on the road and took care of the Lions in Detroit 41-33.
On Thursday, former Eagles assistant coach Ryan Paganetti chose two matchups that he thinks will determine whether the Eagles can start the year 2-0 or whether it will be the 49ers who get off to a 2-0 start.
Here’s what he had to say during his conversation with me on Thursday edition of The Sports Bash.
Can the 49ers run the ball against the Eagles?
“If I'm the 49ers right now, I'm thinking about can I even run the ball up the middle against those guys,” Paganetti told me on the show.
Paganetti mentioned the game that Javon Hargrave played and the role Fletcher Cox had in the defense in Week 1, stating that Hargrave looked like an all-pro in the game against Atlanta.
One thing Paganetti mentioned in regards to Hargrave was that he had an injury that got him off to a slow start last season, coupled with the fact that the Eagles asked him to do a lot of things differently than he was asked to do in Pittsburgh.
Late in the season, Hargrave started to really show what he could do, and now that he is healthy in 2021, he could have a big season.
How will the Eagles defend George Kittle?
Last season in the game in Levi Stadium, Kittle had a monster game against the Eagles, catching 15-of-15 targets for 183 yards and a touchdown in the 49ers loss.
"Its tough, the are really creative with their shifts and motion," Paganetti explained about the 49ers offense. "I'd be looking for the Eagles to consider putting Slay on him on third-downs if its an obvious pass situation."
Paganetti mentioned that the 49ers don't have a ton of depth at the wide receiver position, making Slay expendable to make the move to cover Slay in obvious passing situations.