NFL Sunday Night Football: 49ers/Eagles Preview

by Big Al Staff

Week 4 of the NFL season has the Philadelphia Eagles traveling to the San Francisco 49ers. This game looked like a potential preview for the NFC Championship Game at one point. The complexion of this contest has changed after a disastrous start for the Eagles along with a rash of injuries impacting both teams.

The stakes for Philadelphia for this game are high. The Eagles settled for a 23-23 tie last week at home against Cincinnati rather than attempt a long field goal with under a minute left in overtime. Philadelphia is now 0-2-1 on the season with tough games with Baltimore and Pittsburgh on deck after this game in San Francisco, so an 0-5-1 start has become a significant possibility for this team. After taking a 17-0 lead in their opening game against Washington, the Eagles were outscored by an 87 to 42 margin.

Injuries have ravaged Philadelphia. Offensive tackle Jason Peters became the sixth player they put on injured reserve on Saturday. The Eagles have four other players out indefinitely while cornerback Trevor Williams, wide receiver DeSean Jackson, and cornerback Avonte Maddox are out for this game. Running back Miles Sanders and safety Rudy Ford were upgraded to probable for this game.

Sanders has rushed for 190 yards in the last two games while averaging 5.0 yards-per-carry. His presence in the backfield will help quarterback Carson Wentz who is amidst the worst slump of his career. Wentz has a passer rating of 63.9, which is worst in the league of all qualifying quarterbacks. His 59% completion percentage is 28th for qualifying QBs this season. He is not getting much help from his offensive line, whose injuries have only worsened from Brandon Brooks being lost for the season in August to the move to put Johnson on IR on Saturday.

Wentz still lacks a credible deep threat at wide receiver, which is the reason why they drafted Jalen Reagor out of TCU with their 1st round draft pick. Yet Reagor is one of their players on IR as he deals with a thumb injury. Wentz has been sacked 11 times, and he leads the NFL with seven turnovers, with six being interceptions.

San Francisco is also dealing with a host of injuries, but they enter this game with a 2-1 record after their successful road trip to New Jersey over the last two weeks, where they defeated the Jets by a 31-13 score before blowing out the Giants last week at MetLife Stadium by a 36-9 margin.

The 49ers have nine players on injured reserve, including cornerback Richard Sherman. Star defensive end Nick Bosa is out the season with a torn ACL. Another five players are out indefinitely. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, running back Raheem Mostert, and cornerbacks Emmanuel Moseley and Akhello Witherspoon are unavailable for this game. The good news for Niners fans is that tight end George Kittle, wide receiver Deebo Samuel, and running back Jerick McKinnon have been upgraded to probable to play in this game.

These injuries did not slow down the San Francisco offense last week against the Giants. They gained 420 yards while controlling the time of possession for just under 40 minutes. Nick Mullens completed 25 of 36 passes for 343 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. Mullens is proving himself to be one of the best backup quarterbacks in the NFL. In his nine career starts, he has passed for 2620 yards.

BookMaker has the 49ers as a 7.5-point favorite with the total set at 45. NBC has the broadcast at 8:20 PM ET.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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