Eagles-Niners: Predictions, key matchups

Here are Daily News predictions on the Eagles-Niners game Sunday night:

Les Bowen

The law of averages is inside my head, yelling at me right now, because I am picking the Eagles.

This week's "beware the 49ers" talk is more than the usual Andy Reid sandbagging about how misleading the opponent's record is - the 49ers' 0-4 really is misleading. They should have won two of those games, against New Orleans and Atlanta. Many people picked San Francisco to win the NFC West this year.

But I am seeing this as a circle-the-wagons game for the Birds, and Reid usually wins those. Since 2000, the Eagles are 36-16-1 the week after a loss.

Plus, this year, the fact that the Eagles are an underdog ought to work in their favor - as anyone who has tried to pick games against the spread surely knows, this is the year of the dog.

Exactly how all this is going to happen, I don't know, except that I still think a lot of the popular despair over Kevin Kolb after the Washington game was spleen-venting after an unexpected loss. I think he's capable of beating the 49ers. (A lot more capable if he has an effective Shady McCoy.)

Eagles 17, 49ers 16.

Paul Domowitch

Can the Eagles win? Sure. Will they? I don't think so.

In an attempt to fix what's wrong with his run defense, Sean McDermott has decided to replace Akeem Jordan with Moise Fokou at strongside linebacker. But while Fokou will add a slightly more physical presence against the run, they will be sacrificing speed against a team that likes to throw a lot to its tight end and running back.

Running back LeSean McCoy is nursing a fractured rib and may or may not play. Either way, it's going mean an increased role for Mike Bell. But Bell doesn't have McCoy's versatility. Bottom line, I don't like the looks of this one.

49ers 14, Eagles 13.

Ed Barkowitz: Eagles, 24-20

Bill Conlin: Niners, 23-17

Marcus Hayes: Eagles, 17-13

John Smallwood: Niners, 24-20

Vegas Vic: Niners, 27-21


Eagles RDE Trent Cole vs. Niners LT Joe Staley: Cole had two sacks vs. Staley in the Eagles' win over the Niners last season. Advantage: Eagles

Eagles MLB Stewart Bradley vs. Niners RB Frank Gore: Gore is dangerous both as a runner and receiver. Eagles are 27th in the league in run defense. Advantage: Niners

Eagles WRs DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin vs. Niners CBs Nate Clements and Shantae Spencer: Jackson and Maclin were non-factors in last week's loss to the Redskins. Advantage: Eagles