Niner Noise went behind enemy lines to preview Week 8 between the San Francisco 49ers and Eagles, asking questions with Philadelphia’s FanSided site, Inside the Iggles.
Every week, Niner Noise tries to host a Q&A session with fellow FanSided NFL sites in advance of the San Francisco 49ers’ games this season.
The Eagles, of course, are one of the hottest teams the NFL has going through seven weeks this season. A 6-1 record has resulted in Philadelphia sitting atop our most recent NFL power rankings, and the talk of a Super Bowl run for Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz and Co. is nothing short of reality.
San Francisco 49ers
Needless to say, Week 8 appears to be the biggest of mismatches between the surging Eagles and winless Niners.
Let’s see what Knox had to say about Philadelphia and this upcoming matchup.
NN: The Eagles went through some massive overhauls after everything that happened with Chip Kelly and the 2015 season. At 6-1, it seems as if those have worked. From an outsider’s perspective, how far along do you think the 49ers are in their own rebuild and what do you think still needs to be done?
"ITI: As you stated, this is completely from the outsider’s perspective, but it seems as though Jed York has no idea about what he’s doing. Either that or he feels as though he needs to be more involved in the process when he’s incapable of handling those responsibilities effectively. Most of us still can’t figure out why Jim Harbaugh isn’t still the coach of this team. The John Lynch, Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly hires were head scratchers as well.I’ll say this, though. I hope Lynch is successful. This is a proud franchise with a championship history and a huge fanbase that stretches though this entire country. I’d like to see the 49ers find their way to prominence again. If they can draft well and stop letting their great players walk, I believe the Niners will be fine. Oh, they’ll need a quarterback too.I like that last coaching hire a lot."
NN: Carson Wentz has been MVP-like special this season. While he flashed some promise last year, what do you think has been the main difference from his rookie season to 2017?
"ITI: I think it’s just the next step being taken by, not only Wentz, but everyone around him. Doug Pederson was a rookie head coach. Wendell Smallwood was a rookie running back. The defensive coordinator, Jim Schwartz, was new. Everything on this team was changing.Year two gives Wentz another year in the same offense with the same coaches. That’s stability and consistency, and the value of that for a young quarterback can’t be measured. No one will complain about the decision to surround him with better offensive talent (Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith and LeGarrette Blount), but what really came as a surprise was the leap that was made by the guys who were already there. The maturation of Zach Ertz and Nelson Agholor has been a joy to watch.Better days are ahead in Philly."
NN: Losing perennial Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters has to be tough. There’s been a bit of buzz around 49ers land suggesting the Niners move left tackle Joe Staley to the Eagles in exchange for draft picks. If you were Philadelphia’s general manager, do you make this move or not?
"ITI: I’d absolutely make the move. [Pro Football Focus], at the beginning of the season, ranked this Eagles line second in the league. They were only behind only the Tennessee Titans. Even as a man who has loved this team for over 30 years, I can’t, for the life of me, figure out what they were looking at. The offensive line, even with Peters, was struggling frequently. Now he’s lost for the season? That doesn’t inspire confidence.Once, the plan was, as it had been forever, was to move Lane Johnson to left tackle. That didn’t happen on Monday. Perhaps the theory was to make one change on the offensive line instead of two, but, truthfully, placing Halapoulivaati Vaitai anywhere on the offensive line scares people.Howie Roseman has earned a reputation of pulling the trigger at any time, so we’ll see what happens."
NN: San Francisco obviously has a plethora of problems and talent voids on both sides of the ball. But if you were head coach Doug Pederson, who on the Niners would you specifically be worried about having a big impact during the game?
"ITI: We just touched on the offensive line, and I’d probably stay in that vein. Carson Wentz is getting hit way too often. Now, DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas come to town. It doesn’t really sound like good news, does it? Hopefully, Philly can take advantage of some of those voids you mentioned, but time will tell.Personally, I believe this game may be uncomfortably close for a while. Then the Eagles will probably pull away later in the second half. Hey. I’ve been wrong before though.I guess we’ll find out this weekend, won’t we?"
NN: Name a matchup, one on offense and another on defense, you’re excited about during Week 8.
"ITI: Seeing the 49ers get lit up a couple of times during the season makes me feel as though the Eagles will have some opportunities to make some plays. Nelson Agholor’s done a complete 180. I think the other guys on the outside can stretch the field and come up with some big plays. I believe Zach Ertz can make some plays underneath. I’m expecting a big day on offense from the Eagles’ receivers. I’m looking for them to confuse the 49ers secondary. I’m also looking for the Eagles defensive line to wreak havoc, particularly on the outside. I hope Derek Barnett’s recent upswing continues and I’m thinking we may hear names like Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham a lot. I’m thinking “The Birds” win this one and win it going away."
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Sportsbook Review currently has the Eagles as 13-point favorites over the Niners — by far the biggest spread of any Week 8 matchup.
So it’s likely San Francisco remains winless after this contest, and Philly remains one of the top teams in the league.
Regardless, we here at Niner Noise would like to thank Knox and the entire team over at Inside the Iggles. Be sure to follow Knox on Twitter — @GQ_4_Eva — and Inside the Iggles’ Twitter — @InsideIggles.
The Niners and Eagles kick off at 1 p.m. ET from Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.