San Francisco 49ers (6-7 SU, 8-3-2 ATS) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (9-4 SU, 8-5 ATS), Week 15 NFL, 1:00 p.m. EST, Sunday, December 20, 2009, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pa. TV: FOX
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: 49ers +9/Eagles -9
Bet the Eagles at +11 or the Niners at +29 by using a 20 point football teaser at 5Dimes.
The Philadelphia Eagles are one of the hottest teams in the NFL right now, having won four games in a row and taking over sole possession of first place in the NFL East. But the San Francisco 49ers are coming off a very impressive win themselves, a 24-9 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football. Can the 49ers travel cross-country on a short week and win a 1:00 game on the East Coast?
The 49ers have to win this game to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. The Eagles have to win this game to make sure they keep sole possession of first place in their division. Two teams playing great football right now that both have to win should make for an exciting football game.
The Eagles’ four-game winning streak started with two fourth quarter comeback victories that weren’t very pretty. Against the Bears and the Redskins, the Eagles didn’t play great but they pulled out the wins down the stretch and that’s all that matters. Against the Falcons, the Eagles were playing a team without its starting quarterback and running back, and the Eagles took advantage with an easy 34-7 win. On Sunday night, the Eagles had an important test on the road against the Giants, and the Eagles passed that test, winning the game 45-38 in an offensive shootout. DeSean Jackson had an incredible game with six catches for 178 yards and a touchdown, plus a punt return for a touchdown. Donovan McNabb threw for 275 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Over the last two weeks, the Eagles have been using Michael Vick more. Against the Falcons, Vick had a rushing touchdown and a passing touchdown. Against the Giants, Vick had a 32-yard completion to Jackson and a rushing touchdown.
The 49ers were 3-5 after three straight losses, but have since won three of five to get back into the playoff hunt. Both of their losses during their last five games have been close losses to the Packers and the Seahawks. Their 24-9 win over the Cardinals on Monday night was a dominating victory. The 49ers defense forced seven turnovers. It’s pretty tough to win a game with that many turnovers. They came up with two interceptions and five fumble recoveries. Dashon Goldson forced two fumbles and had an interception himself. Frank Gore ran all over the Cardinals defense with 167 rushing yards and a touchdown. Alex Smith only threw for 144 yards and threw two interceptions, but he did throw touchdown passes to Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis.
Both of these teams will put a lot of pressure on the opposing quarterback, so it will be vital for the offensive line to step up and stop the other team’s pass rush. The Eagles allowed 38 points against the Giants on Sunday. They will have to do a much better job against the 49ers. Gore has been great all season long, so the Eagles linebackers need to focus on containing him. Smith won’t take over a game, and the Eagles have a good defensive backfield, so they just have to limit the long passes. The one area of concern in the 49ers passing game for the Eagles is Davis. The Eagles have trouble defending tight ends and Davis has been one of the best this season, so look for the 49ers to throw to Davis a lot. It’s tough to stop the Eagles passing attack when McNabb gets enough time to throw, so as long as the offensive line does its job the Eagles will put up some points. It will just be up to their defense to keep them in the game.
The 49ers have not failed to cover as an underdog this season, holding a 4-0-2 ATS record in those games. The 49ers are 0-5 SU in their last five road games. The total has gone under in four of their last five games and six of their last nine road games. The Eagles are 6-3 ATS in their last nine home games. The total has gone over in 10 of their last 14 games.
Ryno’s Pick: Both of these teams need this victory so both teams should come out playing hard. If the Eagles continue to play as well as they have been the last two weeks on offense, they should be able to put up more than 20 points. The Eagles could have a tough time stopping Gore and Davis, so as long as the 49ers keep going to those guys they have a chance to win the game. The short week and flying cross-country and playing in an early game could hurt the 49ers, but their defense and their running game should keep it close. The Eagles will pull this one out, but the 49ers will keep it close throughout. Take the 49ers +9.