Photo: Groupe Caname, used via CC BY-SA 3.0
It’s a clash of the titans at Lincoln Financial Field as the undefeated Eagles host the undefeated San Francisco 49ers on Sunday afternoon. Okay, so they’re both 1-0, but still.
It’s the Birds’ home opener, while the 49ers are playing their second game in the Eastern time zone in as many weeks. San Francisco was a chic pick to make a deep run this season, while the Eagles were neither chic nor picked for anything of consequence this season.
How will Sunday’s game unfold? Joe won last week, and will pick first this week.
Joe (1-0-0): True story: I’ve never had a losing record at any point in Quick Picks history. John’s never had a winning record. Funny how that works.
Anyway, I wasn’t surprised to see the Eagles win last week – we picked them to win in our season preview pod, and we both picked them to win this space last Friday – but I think everyone was at least a little surprised to see them win in the manner in which they did. Atlanta isn’t good, but the Eagles made the Falcons look less like birds of prey and more like bird poop on a windshield.
Of course, it was just one week; it might be that Atlanta is very bad, and the Eagles’ defense is very good, or it might turn out that Atlanta’s actually pretty good and had a bad day, or a bad Eagles defense had a great day, or somewhere in between.
Last week, San Francisco rolled up 41 points on the Lions, which I would imagine is very similar to dropping 32 on the Falcons. However, whereas the Eagles’ defense also showed up, the 49ers mailed it in late and allowed Detroit to get back in the game before ultimately coming away with a familiar 41-33 win.
(There have been five NFL games that have ended 41-33; the Eagles won the first one, in 1954, and the third one, which everyone reading this is now thinking about and smiling. San Francisco lost to Dallas by that score in Week 15 last season before winning last week. #TheMoreYouKnow)
I don’t think we’re looking at either team tossing up 30-plus on Sunday, nor are we going to see the Eagles shut down the 49ers or the 49ers fall asleep in the fourth. I had this as a loss before the season, and nothing has happened to change my tune there; I think it’ll be close late, but San Francisco will get the job done. 49ers 23, Eagles 14.
Offensive Standout: Brandon Aiyuk
Defensive Standout: Hassan Ridgeway
John (0-1-0): How good is the 2021 Eagles defense? No idea. They kept the Falcons from crossing over the goal line, but it’s hard to say that Atlanta is a powerhouse.
We might have a better idea this week. The 49ers scored 41 points last week, which is also the most in the NFL. The fearsome two-some of Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave may limit Elijah Mitchell’s yardage, so look for Jimmy Garoppolo to find tight end George Kittle at least once in the end zone.
Linebacker Fred Warner has a chance to make a big impact on this one. He’ll have a few shots at Miles Sanders. The Eagles will put up a fight in this game, but are overmatched throughout the roster. If they get within a touchdown, that’s a moral “W.” 49ers 33, Eagles 24.
Offensive Standout: George Kittle
Defensive Standout: Fred Warner