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Key Match-Ups to Watch for Against the 49ers

The Eagles will look to rebound this Sunday night, and you would think that it would be nice to play a team who hasn’t won a game yet. However, the 49ers are much better then their record indicates, and traveling out west is never an easy task.

Here are some of the match-ups I’ll be watching on Sunday night:

Kevin Kolb vs. 49ers Secondary
Yesterday I wrote about what the Eagles offense can expect come Sunday, and it seems the Redskins have laid down a blue print on how to keep Kolb’s arm at bay. That’s very unfortunate, because Kolb is going to have no other choice then to beat the 49ers with his arm.

For a team that runs the ball as little as the Eagles do, it’s no help that they more then likely won’t have LeSean McCoy to take any carries. I don’t see Mike Bell or any other Eagles running back stepping up and slicing the 49ers defense on the ground, so to the air we go. McCoy also turned into Kolb’s favorite passing target last week because the Redskins took away everything away from the middle of the field and beyond. Kolb was forced to check the ball down on almost every throw, and now he doesn’t have a running back who can make plays out of the backfield the same way McCoy can.

If the 49ers run the same scheme the Redskins did (which I don’t know why they wouldn’t), the Eagles are going to have to make some adjustments to try to get the receivers involved with shorter passes. Kolb will need to hit short passes to the receivers to try and open things up down field for himself. We’ve always been high on Kolb’s accuracy and he’s going to need to do just that to be able to have any success.

Eagles Receivers vs. 49ers Corners
Another thing the Redskins did well last week was bump DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin off the line. This can be a bad thing if the speedy receivers get off the blocks quickly, but the Redskins were able to do this well because they always had safety help over the top.

As I mentioned above, I think the Eagles will gear things to shorter passes this week. Jackson and Maclin need to get off their blocks quickly to that Kolb can step back and deliver. If they struggle, it’s going to throw off timing and with the way our line is right now, it could lead to some sacks.

Eagles Front Seven vs. Frank Gore and Vernon Davis
These are the two stars on the 49ers offense and could easily turn things into a disaster for the Eagles. The Eagles have been pretty bad against the run, and they will see the best running back they’ve seen so far this year on Sunday night. In the middle, the Eagles need to do a better job in blowing up blockers so that linebackers can make plays. Offensively, the 49ers start two rookies on the line, and I’m hoping that plays to our advantage.

However, at the end of the day, if either of these two end up with a big day, it’s not going to be good for the Eagles.

Eagles Defensive Line vs. Alex Smith
The Eagles defensive line is supposed to be the strong point of the defense, but they only were able to record one sack on Donovan McNabb last week. The sack didn’t even come by a lineman, it came on a very nice run down by Ernie Sims.

Smith is a guy who has seen a lot of pressure this season and been hit a lot. He’s not a great quarterback, so the line needs to get in his face early and get him to turn the ball over. Turnovers could be a huge factor in this game and if the Eagles force the 49ers, especially Smith, into turning the ball over, it will be huge.

What match-ups will you be watching on Sunday night?

Trent Cole, Asante Samuel, and Quintin Mikell

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