Keys to the game: How the Eagles can upset the Niners

Eagles jordan mailata
PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 18: Philadelphia Eagles Offensive Tackle Jordan Mailata (68) looks on in the second half during the game between the Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles on October 18, 2020 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

The Eagles looked great on opening day against a bad Falcons team. San Fransisco is a much better team, and Kyle Shanahan is a much better coach. However, for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, Lincoln Financial Field will have a full house. There are a ton of matchups to look at, a ton of players to look out for, and a ton of questions still to be asked. But these are the biggest keys to the game on Sunday.

Nick Bosa vs. Lane Johnson/Jordan Mailata

As good as the offensive line looked last week, Lane Johnson didn’t have his best game Sunday. A couple of penalties, a fair chunk of pressure that resulted in sacks, it wasn’t the type of game we are accustomed to seeing from the All-Pro.

That cannot happen when the Eagles face Nick Bosa, one of the most dominant defensive pass rushers in the league.

Jordan Mailata should be added into to this conversation as well. As great as Mailata looked on Sunday, there isn’t a Falcon player that matches the skillset of Bosa. He’ll be one of the toughest players the Eagles have to defend against all year.

If Philly wants to pull of another upset, Bosa must be neutralized.

Discipline, Discipline, Discipline

There was obviously a lot to love last Sunday. One thing that was really overlooked was the lack of discipline the team had. The Eagles had 14 penalties in Week 1. It was a sloppy game, and one that cannot be repeated against a much more disciplined 49ers team.

Discipline doesn’t just mean to lower the penalty usage. Kyle Shanahan loves moving the pocket for his QB, and loves to stretch the field offensively with Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and countless others.

The Eagles will need to be disciplined on the defensive end to maintain their own gaps and force Jimmy Garappolo, or whoever plays QB to stay in the pocket.

Philly doesn’t have the best LB’s on the planet. But in order to win, Alex Singleton, and Eric Wilson must be disciplined and be able to secure tackles when they come.

San Fran is really good after contact. The Eagles need to make sure they don’t have as many missed tackles as the opener.

Attack the Secondary

I would be shocked if the Eagles were able to run as well as they did against the Falcons on Sunday. The 49ers are a much better defense against the run, and it should present their own challenges.

The 49ers biggest weakness was opened earlier this week. Jason Verrett, the Niner’s Pro-Bowl corner is out for the season with an ACL tear. The Eagles should therefore be able to attack the Niner’s secondary with ease on Sunday.

The 49ers have very good LB’s all across the roster. It’s important that Jalen Hurts tests the corners consistently.

Hurts showed poise and accuracy on opening day. He needs to continue to show that consistently against a 49ers secondary that is decimated with injuries.


Like most games this year, the outcome for the Eagles will be decided in the trenches. If Philadelphia is able to give Jalen Hurts and the skill guys enough time to execute, the Eagles offense should be putting up a lot of points.

Conversely, the Eagles defensive front seven has the power to put enough pressure on Jimmy-G, and the running game to shut down the 49er offense. If it doesn’t happen, San Fran is going to put up a ton of points.

Most people had this game as a loss at the beginning of the year. The way Philadelphia looked in the opener has changed a lot of people’s opinion.

The keys to the game have become even more important on Sunday.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire