The San Francisco 49ers have never started a season winless through their first eight games. After seven straight losses to open the season, this 49ers team will be trying to avoid going down in infamy. To avoid the loss, the 49ers will be facing a team considered to be one of the best in football. Facing off against the first place Philadelphia Eagles will not be an easy task. The Eagles are coming off a Monday night victory in which they looked like a Super Bowl favorite. The 49ers will enter this game after being blown out by the Dallas Cowboys. Besides hoping for a minor miracle, the 49ers will be trying to follow three keys to victory.
Week Eight San Francisco 49ers Keys to Victory
Follow the Blueprint
Only one team in the NFL has managed to beat the Eagles. In their week two clash, The Kansas City Chiefs bested the Eagles. The Chiefs and the 49ers are far off in terms of talent. However, the 49ers possess similar personnel that might give the Eagles defense trouble.
In their win against the Chiefs, Alex Smith was not particularly impressive. For the most part, he threw short passes, and spread it out to many wide receivers. The longest pass he completed on a touchdown drive was a 35-yard completion to Chris Conley. Conley would finish with 55 yards, and lead all Chiefs receivers. Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt were the stars. Kelce had over one hundred yards receiving, and Hunt broke a 53-yard touchdown run.
After an underwhelming performance against the Cowboys, it is safe to say rookie C.J. Beathard will not be taking any games over on his own for quite some time. He may, however, be able to replicate Alex Smith and spread the ball out to all his receivers. Carlos Hyde has looked particularly impressive the last several weeks, and is capable of breaking a big run for a touchdown. Tight end George Kittle will be a player to watch. His raw athleticism allows for him to be an x-factor every game. The Eagles primarily used linebacker Jordan Hicks to cover tight ends, who sustained a season ending injury last week. Kittle could take advantage of that. The 49ers have all the right pieces primed to follow the Chiefs blueprint.
A lot of the success of the Eagles this season can be attributed to the play of their quarterback. Carson Wentz seems to make an incredible play on a weekly basis. Keeping the opposing quarterback in check is a key to any victory, but it especially pertains to this game because Wentz looks unstoppable.
Wentz has made some amazing throws, and seems very capable of picking apart a team in the pocket. The 49ers have struggled against the pass this year. Particularly, cornerbacks Rashard Robinson and Dontae Johnson seem lost. Robinson has committed several pass interference penalties, and has been burned as well. Inspired performances by these two players will be instrumental in stopping the pass attack.
While Wentz can beat a team from within the pocket, he is capable of devastating plays outside of the pocket. In week one, he danced around defenders before finding Nelson Agholor deep down the field. Last week, he seemed to be going down for a sack, but escaped for a big run. The 49ers will have to ensure he stays in the pocket, and cannot author another backbreaking improbable play.
Make a Play
Five of the 49ers seven losses have been by a field goal or less. In many cases, they were a play away from finally getting into the win column. The 49ers will need several players to step up and make a play if they are to get their first win.
DeForest Buckner has been the 49ers best player throughout the year. He is one of the highest graded defensive linemen in the NFL. He has constantly been pressuring the quarterback, even though double teams. Turning those pressures into sacks are the type of plays the 49ers will need. With Eagles left tackle Jason Peters out for the season, it will give other defensive lineman such as Solomon Thomas opportunities to get into the backfield. Forcing a fumble, or pressuring Wentz into an ill-advised interception will give the 49ers a better chance at the win.
The 49ers will also have to make plays on the offensive side of the ball. The Eagles defense is stout, but the 49ers will have to push through. The 49ers cannot afford to turn the ball over, and must put together successful drives to win the field position game. Converting on third down, or hitting on a shot play to Marquise Goodwin could be the final piece that pushes the 49ers over the edge for a victory.