No. 4: 49ers will need a tertiary wide receiver to step up vs. Eagles
While it was a bit odd to see second-year wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk not get any targets in Week 1, fellow wideout Deebo Samuel certainly enjoyed his 2021 debut to the tune of nine receptions for 189 yards and a touchdown.
All against a suspect Lions secondary.
That might not be the same case again versus the Eagles, though, as cornerbacks Steven Nelson and Darius Slay allowed just one first-down completion on 12 targets versus Atlanta, per Pro Football Focus, while frustrating the Falcons’ passing attack to a mere 136 yards.
Atlanta managed 124 rush yards, so perhaps that’s how Kyle Shanahan guards against quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and Co. from being too aggressive through the air against a better secondary.
That said, the 49ers are going to need someone other than Samuel to contribute in Week 2.
It could be the combination of Samuel and Aiyuk. Or potentially Samuel and fellow receiver Trent Sherfield, the latter also adding a touchdown reception versus Detroit.
Ideally, however, all three of the Niners’ top wide receivers need to be making an impact, particularly if both Nelson and Slay are effective enough at negating San Francisco’s top two options.