Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

5 Keys to a 49ers Win Over the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game

Jan 28, 2023 at 9:15 AM--

The NFC Championship game is here. It's number one against number two, and the San Francisco 49ers are the underdogs on the road. It seems the 49ers have to play a perfect game to beat the number-one team in football. If the 49ers want a trip to the Super Bowl, they must stick to these keys to victory against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Attack with the Run

The Eagles' run defense is ranked 17th in the league allowing, on average, 121.6 yards per game. As ferocious as their pass rush is, the Eagles struggle to stop the run. Good thing the 49ers like to run the ball with their plethora of running backs. Expect running backs Christian McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell (assuming he plays; Mitchell is questionable due to a groin injury) to lead the way. Head coach Kyle Shanahan should look to get his backs to the outside.

Jordan Mason could also be utilized in this game to add wear and tear to the Eagles' interior rushers. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel will be the joker's wild out of the backfield. It's win-or-go-home for the 49ers. Running the ball 30-35 times is key.

Slow Down their Pass Rush

The Eagles led the NFL with 70 sacks. They have an elite pass rush, with four players owning over ten sacks. Expect Shanahan to use screen passes and quickly get the ball out of quarterback Brock Purdy's hands. Purdy to Aiyuk on the slant passes could be beautiful throughout the game. The 49ers should look to help out on the edges with a tight end or fullback.

Look to take away Brandon Graham from their pass rush. He provides his team with a different type of energy. The 49ers should look to eliminate Graham from the equation. Purdy will have to master his bootlegs to the left because expect Graham to be lined out mainly on the right side.

The Eagles struggle in defending running backs in the passing game. McCaffrey will have the opportunity to go off into space. Slow down the pass rush, and secure the victory.

Stop The Run

It's simple, and since the 49ers have the number one run defense, expect them to take away the Eagles' leading rusher, Miles Sanders. Kenneth Gainwell is the speedster out of the backfield. The 49ers must account for him in the run and pass-catching game. Quarterback Jalen Hurts isn't afraid to run, either. The 49ers must keep containment at all costs. The Eagles use RPOs more than any team in the league. The last time the 49ers couldn't contain a quarterback, they lost. Remember Marcus Mariota in Atlanta?

Don't Get Beat Deep

The Eagles have three wide receivers and a tight end that will look to get behind the defense. AJ Brown is their number-one receiver. Over the last few games in the playoffs, the 49ers allowed their opponent's number-one receivers to have great fun while San Francisco emerged with victories. Against the Seahawks, DK Metcalf had ten receptions for 136 yards and two touchdowns, but Seattle lost 41-23. Cowboys wideout CeeDee Lamb had ten receptions for 110 yards, and Dallas lost 19-12.

Let Brown do his thing and take away their other weapons. Some may argue that the most formidable receiving core the 49ers played against was that of the Miami Dolphins. Tyreek Hill had nine receptions for 146 yards and a touchdown. Trent Sherfield had the one play for 75 yards and a touchdown, but the others combined for 74, with Jaylen Waddle only contributing nine yards. The Dolphins lost 33-17. Expect the 49ers to play a lot of Cover 3 zone and man. This forces Hurts to make short, accurate throws and takes away his strength, the deep pass.

Win the Turnover battle

What would you prefer, sacks or turnovers? Some say sacks can lead to turnovers. That's fair, but the Eagles showed in sacks (70). The 49ers were the second-best team, tied with the New England Patriots in takeaways (30). The team was number one in the interceptions tier with the Pittsburgh Steelers (20). The 49ers are 15-0 when they tie or win the turnover battle. Win the battle of turnovers; win the game.

In Conclusion

This will not be an easy task. The Eagles dominate in all three phases, but so are the 49ers. You usually hear that defense wins championships. No one is talking about the number-one defense in the league. All you hear is how dominant the Eagles' defense is. Linebacker Fred Warner will have his defense locked and loaded. If the team sticks to these keys to victory, they will be headed to Super Bowl 57.
  • Written by:
    Wayne Breezie is a 49ers content creator. He had his first guest appearance on Ronbosports in 2012. He began writing for a Facebook group called the League of the 49ers. Next, he began writing for Nothing But Niners in 2017. In 2018, Wayne Breezie made his debut on YouTube’s Nothing But Niners show. In 2019, he started his podcast called Nitty Gritty Niners. After putting the pen down for several years, Breezie saw an opportunity to write for His first published article was in January of 2022 with 49ersCap, and he currently writes and produces weekly podcasts.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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