The SF 49ers defense is going to make Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz’ life even more difficult on Sunday Night Football.
Do you remember those Sunday night family dinners? Your grandparents would make a big meal, everyone came over and feasted while watching the main event football game.
Well, the SF 49ers are preparing for the same feast with a quarterback who’s struggling.
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz hasn’t had the best start to the 2020 season. So far, the Eagles are 0-2-1 with losses to Washington and the LA Rams, while their tie came last week against the Cincinnati Bengals.
But even more staggering for Wentz, he’s thrown for only 737 yards, three touchdowns and six interceptions. He’s also been sacked an astonishing 11 times in three games (eight on opening day and three against the Bengals).
SF 49ers must make the Eagles offence one dimensional
After some amateur scouting on Wentz from yours truly, the SF 49ers defense will want to focus on stopping the run. If it can take running back Miles Sanders out of the equation, the Niners have better success against the pass.
Wentz hasn’t been great throwing the ball. He’s only operating at 59.8 completion percentage with an average of 5 yards per attempt. Many deep balls he tried to throw last week were either well defended or completely overthrown.
There wasn’t much leeway for his receivers.
SF 49ers should force Carson Wentz out of pocket
When quarterbacks are struggling with accuracy, it’s best to keep forcing them into uncomfortable situations. In Wentz’s case, throwing on the run and out of the pocket is an uncomfortable situation for him.
Against the Bengals, he couldn’t accurately find a target. Now it’s not to say he can’t find an open receiver downfield, but it’ll be up to the SF 49ers secondary to make sure they have tight, penalty-free coverage.
Whether it’s in the pocket or outside it, constant pressure is key
So far on 132 pass attempts, Wentz has thrown the ball away seven times. But it’s hard to blame the guy to just get rid of the ball when his receivers are dropping his passes at a career-high six percent.
The Eagles offensive line is doing a terrible job of doing its job. The SF 49ers, who are extremely depleted on the defensive line with Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas, and Dee Ford out, can still easily bully their way to Wentz and force him to make bad throws.
SF 49ers must make tight end Zach Ertz a non-factor
The SF 49ers are blessed to have one of the best tight ends in George Kittle. But the Eagles have a nice counter with Zach Ertz. The three-time Pro Bowler is one of Wentz’s main targets when he’s under pressure, so the SF 49ers defense will need to make sure Ertz isn’t getting open.
So far this season, Ertz hasn’t broken any tackles when receiving a pass. It’s a bit of a surprise since he stands at 6-foot-5, 250 pounds. The previous two seasons, his yards after the catch were over 250, while this season he’s had only 20 yards after the catch.
It’s key the SF 49ers stop Ertz. The Eagles are also bandaged up:
They’ll be without star wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery, which will put a lot of pressure on Sanders and Ertz.
There’s nothing better than Sunday Night Football. It’s the highlight of every week. And though it’ll lack the star-power the schedule maker was originally thinking, the SF 49ers defense will have a chance to prove they’re still one of the top units in the NFL despite all their injuries.