Sunday Six Pack: Eagles at 49ers

When this game appeared on the schedule, you looked at the potential that both teams could be looking for a 3-1 start. The Eagles already have three wins, bringing a 3-0 record into the game. The San Francisco 49ers are just 1-2 after losses to the Bears and Cardinals.

As one of the crucial tests in the early part of the season for the Eagles, this is a game that stands out and could determine where the Eagles will sit in just a few weeks when they pause for the bye week.

Here are this week’s six keys to the game.

Eagles run defense vs. 49ers run offense – Frank Gore, Carlos Hyde, Colin Kaepernick. You will hear those three names a lot on Sunday. All three will run the ball and can take any run play and make it dynamic. Kaepernick won’t do it much, but Hyde has added a second weapon to the backfield to go with Gore. Another week without Mychal Kendricks will prove crucial if the Eagles can’t stop the run.

First half woes – Three week and three slow starts have put the Eagles in a hole. They managed to come back all three times. But that can only happen so many times before they face a deficit that can’t be overcome. Against the 49ers, they might not be able to produce a comeback. The first half will set the tone in one direction or the other. A hot start could make this the Eagles game.

Eagles offensive line – A battered offensive line takes the field on Sunday and it may be the source of the Eagles success or failure. Matt Tobin and David Molk will be the two guys to watch in the final game the Eagles will be without Lane Johnson.

Strong Game from Shady – Entering Week 4, we’ve yet to see LeSean McCoy break out for the big game he’s capable of. Last season, McCoy always seemed to unleash the big plays at the most crucial moments, to the point where he would simply take over the game. This game may be in need of a Shady takeover.

Use the Tight Ends – The Eagles passing game may completely depend on the tight ends. Last week, the Eagles had great success when targeting wide receivers and that could very well happen again. But this seems like a game that Zach Ertz and Brent Celek could play huge roles in. Their use will be important for Nick Foles.

Nick Foles – Foles finally looked like he did last season in last week’s win against the Redskins. This week could be what separates the first two weeks from the previous two weeks. If Foles is on his game, he will have two strong games in a row to build on next week. If it ends up being a third poor game in four starts, the questions will arise again. This is a chance to put all questions to bed.

Kevin Durso is a contributor for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.