The SF 49ers host the scuffling Eagles in Week 4, yet these five matchups still need to go the Niners way if they want to improve to 3-1.
When the NFL schedule makers envisioned the SF 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles going at it on Sunday Night Football in Week 4, they were probably hoping for a potential playoff-preview matchup between Super Bowl-hopeful squads sitting atop their respective divisions.
Well, not exactly.
The Niners, currently 2-1 after pulling off back-to-back wins against the New York Jets and New York Giants at MetLife Stadium in Weeks 2 and 3, are still very much in the NFC West picture. But the 0-2-1 Eagles, fresh off a tie against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 3, are looking at one of the league’s worst passing offenses through three weeks. And like San Francisco, Philly is also dealing with a slew of key injuries.
The major difference, though, is the SF 49ers have been able to overcome those setbacks and figure to get stronger with players returning, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
Still, these five matchups between the Niners and Eagles will play a pivotal role in determining whether or not head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad can get to 3-1 on the young season.
No. 5: Carson Wentz vs. SF 49ers pass defense
Through three weeks, Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz and Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins are leading the league with six interceptions thrown apiece. Wentz’s interception rate of 4.5 percent is also second most of all qualifiers behind Cousins’ 7.7 mark.
Granted, Philly hasn’t exactly boasted a top-tier array of wide receivers this season. Veteran wideout Alshon Jeffery (foot) is out, DeSean Jackson has been hobbled by a hamstring injury and the rookie, Jalen Reagor, is dealing with a thumb injury that’ll likely keep him out until November.
That’s all translated into an Eagles passing attack ranked 24th in the league overall and dead last in yards per attempt (4.6).
Wentz’s touchdown-to-interception ratio this season? A measly 3:6.
Meanwhile, San Francisco boasts the league’s No. 2-ranked pass defense and is averaging 5.2 pass-yards against per attempt, which is also second best. Sure, going up against the lowly Jets and Giants offenses drastically influence those figures. But it isn’t as if Philadelphia is firing on all proverbial cylinders, offensively, either.
The job for Shanahan’s defense remains simple: frustrate Wentz and keep his early interception tendencies going into Week 4.