The NFC playoff bracket is going about as expected, and are at the result we expected about a month ago. The Philadelphia Eagles will be hosting the San Francisco 49ers, as two of the best rosters in the league with great coaching staffs will face off, with that it’s time to take a look at three key matchups and give a prediction!
Sunday, January 29, 2023
3:00 pm San Francisco 49ers (13-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (14-3)
Three Key Matchups:
1. Philadelphia Eagles Offensive Line vs San Francisco Defensive Line
If you are someone who enjoys good trench battles in football, then you will love this game from start to finish. This game will be decided in the trenches, and the amount of talent in these positions groups is incredible. The Eagles have the best center and right tackle in the league with Jason Kelce (who has an excellent podcast) and Lane Johnson who is playing with a groin injury that will almost certainly need surgery. Even with the immense pain he was in, Johnson still looked like the best right tackle in the league against the Giants. Jordan Mailata is a franchise left tackle, Landon Dickerson is playing very well are left guard, and Isaac Seumalo has been more than capable at right guard. There is simply no weakness on this offensive line. On the side of the trenches, the 49ers have a defensive player of the year finalist Nick Bosa, and Samson Ebukam who posted a career-high in pressures with 43, and Arik Armstead on the interior of the defensive line.
2. San Francisco Offensive Line vs Philadelphia Eagles Defensive Line
If we flip this around, the 49ers have a good offensive line as well, although across the board is definitely weaker than Philadelphia’s offensive line. Trent Williams is holding it down at left tackle, being as dominant as ever. Mike McGlinchey at right tackle is doing a fine job at right tackle, but the interior is significantly weaker when compared to Philadephia. The Eagles have just as good, if not a BETTER defensive line than the 49ers. Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox up the middle with Jordan Davis rotating in. The Eagles have three legit edge defenders with Josh Sweat who had 43 pressures and set a career-high in sacks, Haason Reddick who set career highs in pressures with 68 and a career-high in sacks with 18, and Brandon Graham who should be a comeback player of the year finalist as he set a career-high in sacks after coming off a major injury!
The Eagles have a much better version of what the 49ers have when looking at the trenches. This matchup should have a clear winner, and that’s the Philadelphia Eagles.
3. Kyle Shanahan vs Jonathan Gannon
Can Shanahan’s offense carry Brock Purdy against this elite Eagles defense? I have my doubts. Kyle Shanahan will scheme up some stuff, and Brock Purdy will steer the ship well but he doesn’t do a good enough job of creating something beyond what the offense gives him. At the same time, he won’t make catastrophic mistakes by putting the ball in harm’s way. In short, you will get what the offense is making, and not much else. While looking on the other side of the ball, the Eagles have answers on defense. Darius Slay and James Bradberry make up one of the best cornerback duos in the NFL. I detailed the mismatch that is Philadelphia’s defensive line against San Francisco’s earlier, but it’s another place where Philadelphia is just better than San Francisco. Kyle Shanahan is an offensive genius, but his hands are seriously tied. This game could get ugly, quickly.
Everything good you can say about San Francisco, Philadelphia is better at it. If you made one of those graphics with an arrow pointing toward which team is better at a given position group, you’d give San Francisco the edge at running back and head coach, and that’s about it. This game could get ugly fast, especially if Philadelphia jumps out to an early lead.
Score: 38-20 Philadelphia