Eagles-Niners: Predictions, key matchups

The Eagles expect Michael Vick to start Sunday against San Francisco. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

Here are the staff predictions for today's Eagles game against the San Francisco 49ers at the Linc:


This game is going to be more about the Eagles than the 49ers. If the Birds manage to lose as a strong home favorite for the second week in a row, if they drop to 1-3, the wheels are off and we can start surveying disaster scenarios, wondering what the fallout is going to be. Hey, if Mike Vick doesn't play four full quarters and hit the tunnel healthy, we can unearth the old debate about whether the Birds should have kept Kevin Kolb and traded Vick.

Just can't quite believe it will come to that. The Eagles are a 1-2 team that probably should be 3-0, flawed but capable of spurts of dominance. A little less carelessness and a bit better injury luck should get them back to .500. Prediction: Eagles 23, 49ers 12.


EAGLES (-8) over 49ers: Everyone was a little annoyed with Double V last week when I suggested a light play on the Giants plus the points, and a second-half wager on the New Yorkers. Well, it worked out. The Giants won the second half by 15-3, which was an easy cover. It's obvious that the Birds will rise and fall with bumps and bruises of Michael Vick. When he is performing his magic act, the Eagles are as good as anyone. After all, they were leading in each of the two losses before Vick was knocked out. So, we're gonna get a little creative here, and recommend a light play on the Birds minus 8, but go all in on the Eagles in the first half. Vick should be able to stand up straight for at least 30 minutes. The first-half line will be somewhere around minus-5, and you can start filling out the deposit slip now. Prediction: Eagles, 30-17.

Other selections:

Ed Barkowitz: Eagles, 24-13

Bill Conlin: Eagles, 27-21

Paul Domowitch: Eagles, 27-17

Marcus Hayes: Eagles, 24-21

John Smallwood: Eagles, 27-21


1. Eagles CB Nnamdi Asomugha vs. Niners TE Vernon Davis: Davis is the Niners' most feared receiver. Eagles must slow him down. Asomugha would be giving up some size, but is the best matchup here. Advantage: Even

2. Eagles' coverage units vs. Niners PR/KR Ted Ginn Jr.: Bobby April's units must have their best game of the season to prevent Ginn from being a game-deciding factor. Advantage: Niners

3. Eagles C Jason Kelce vs. Niners NT Isaac Sopoaga: This will be the 280-pound Kelce's first game against a 3-4 scheme and a nose tackle that outweighs him by 60 pounds. Advantage: Niners


To read the five things that we will be watching in today's game, click here.

And don't forget to Be Heard on the Birds with the Daily News. Details here.