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Sunday, October 2, 2011
How you feeling? Eagles vs. 49ers

By Dan Graziano

As you get ready for today's game against the San Francisco 49ers at Lincoln Financial Field, here's one reason for Philadelphia Eagles fans to feel good and one reason for concern:

Feeling good: Mismatches in the San Francisco secondary

The secondary is the weak spot of the 49ers' defense, and they don't have the kind of speed they need to keep up with Philadelphia receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. The deep passing game has been missing for Michael Vick and the Eagles so far this season, largely because of the Eagles' inability to protect Vick long enough for him to find receivers downfield. But the 49ers don't blitz as much as the Giants do, and Vick should get a little bit more time this week. Assuming he does, he will have an opportunity to find Jackson and Maclin downfield for the kinds of big plays the Eagles need to start hitting again.

Cause for concern: Vernon Davis.

With Frank Gore banged up and the Niners so far unable to generate anything in the run game this season, their best offensive weapon is 6-foot-3, 250-pound tight end Davis, who should be a major factor in the San Francisco passing game. The quality the Eagles have at cornerback should easily neutralize the 49ers' underwhelming group of wide receivers, which leaves Davis, who could find easy mismatches all day against the Eagles' udnerwhelming group of linebackers. Tony Gonzalez of the Falcons put a lot on tape in Week 2 for teams looking for ways to beat the Eagles with the tight end. After that game, the Eagles said star cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha had been planning on shadowing Gonzalez but had to move away from that plan because of an injury to fellow cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. If the secondary is at full strength today, it might be a smart idea to keep Asomugha on Davis all day, since he's the guy who can do the most damage.