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David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 15
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Saturday
Monday
*updated

Prediction: SF 14, PHI 30

Thursday Night Update: Brian Westbrook had limited practice and has already been ruled out this week. Jeremy Maclin has not practiced and has already been ruled out as well but could be back next week according to HC Andy Reid.

The 49ers draw up to 6-7 on the season with their big win over the Cardinals but still trail them by two full games and are likely out of the wild card race. The 49ers are only 1-5 on the road and on a short week. The Eagles have risen to 9-4 and are a full game over the Cowboys in the NFC East. The biggest key to this game - played in Philly. The 49ers have not won on the road since week one and never outside their own division.

San Francisco 49ers (6-7)
Homefield: Monster Park
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @ARI 20-16 +6 46
2 SEA 23-10 -1.5 39
3 @MIN 24-27 +7 40.5
4 STL 35-0 -10 37.5
5 ATL 10-45 -2.5 41
6 BYE - - -
7 @HOU 21-24 +3 44.5
8 @IND 14-18 +13 45
9 TEN 27-34 -4 41
10 CHI 10-6 -4 43
11 @GB 24-30 +6 42
12 JAC 20-3 -3 42.5
13 @SEA 17-20 +1 41.5
14 ARI 24-9 +3.5 48
15 @PHI - +7.5 45
16 DET - - -
17 @STL - - -
SF at PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Alex Smith     230,2
RB Frank Gore 50 20  
TE Vernon Davis   80,2  
WR Josh Morgan   40  
WR Jason Hill   20  
WR Michael Crabtree   60  
PK Joe Nedney   2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The win over the Cardinals was huge but again - it only illustrates the problem of the 49ers who cannot win on the road. Fortunately after this week comes a home stand against the Lions and then a trip to play the Rams. There is every reason to think that the 49ers can end the season ar 8-8 and be .500 on the season. But this week is one of the toughest matchups of the year.

Quarterback: Alex Smith only passed for 144 yard and had two interceptions against the Cardinals but threw for two scores. That makes four straight games with multiple touchdowns and six of the last eight. Smith's best games have come in road venues largely because the team finds itself behind and abandons the running attack.

The Eagles have allowed at least one score to every visiting passer and four of them threw for two or more scores. The yardage has typically been on the low side but look for a decent effort here by Smith with a good chance for those two touchdowns.

Running Backs: Frank Gore has been feast or famine this year and on Monday he was at his best again with 167 yards and a score against the Cardinals. One major consideration here. His best yardage efforts - by a huge margin - have all come at home. On the road he only had more than 60 rushing yards once and usually only half that. Gore is a good bet at home but on the road has yet to have a decent showing. The new offense is not likely to showcase him this week either since there will probably be no two score lead to protect.

The Eagles have never allowed more than 86 rushing yards to a visiting runner and normally much less. Expect Gore to crash back to earth this week with no score and only moderate yardage at best.

Wide Receivers: The passing game has never expanded beyond Michael Crabtree once he got going and he has been consistently turning in around 60 or 70 yards per game and comes off his third touchdown of the year. Josh Morgan is a second fiddle to be sure but in recent weeks had four to six catches per game with nominal yardage and one touchdown in Seattle.

The Eagles have been very good against wide receivers visiting Philly and only two wideouts scored from the last four teams to show up. No receiver has topped 100 yards in Philly so expect the 49ers to get only moderate production from Crabtree this week since he will be well covered. Expecting a touchdown here is tough and would have little yardage with it anyway.

Tight Ends: Vernon Davis scored yet again last week and now has 11 touchdowns on the season and two had multiple scores which came in road trips to Minnesota and Houston. Davis always plays better on the road where Gore is ineffective running and tight ends are the biggest weakness of the Eagles defense.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SF 20 24 28 2 24 6
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 20 14 8 32 9 6


Philadelphia Eagles (9-4))
Homefield: Lincoln Financial Field
Turf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @CAR 38-10 -2.5 43.5
2 NO 22-48 -3 46.5
3 KC 34-14 -9.5 42.5
4 BYE -    
5 TB 33-14 -16 42
6 @OAK 9-13 -14 40.5
7 @WAS 27-17 -7 37.5
8 NYG 40-17 -1 43
9 DAL 16-20 -3 47.5
10 @SD 23-31 +1 47
11 @CHI 24-20 -3.5 46.5
12 WAS 27-24 -9.5 40.5
13 @ATL 34-7 -4 43.5
14 @NYG 45-38 -1 42.5
15 SF - -7.5 45
16 DEN - - -
17 @DAL - - -
PHI vs SF Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb     270,2
RB LeSean McCoy 40 30  
RB Leonard Weaver 30,1 10  
TE Brent Celek   30,1  
WR DeSean Jackson   70,1  
WR Jason Avant   40  
WR Reggie Brown   40  
PK David Akers 3 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The four game winning streak has now passed the Eagles by the plummeting Cowboys and with two home games up next, the chances are excellent that the Eagles can go into the week 17 finale with an 11-4 record that should already clinch the playoffs providing the Cowboys lose to the Saints like everyone else. The Broncos game is no gimmee either but the Eagles are cranking up the scoring in recent weeks and getting good play from all aspects of the team.

Quarterback: Donovan McNabb has been sharing more with Michael Vick in recent weeks though mostly to allow him to run the wildcat near the goal line. And McNabb has not suffered much anyway since he has thrown a score in all but one game this year and maintained around 250 or more passing yards in each of the last six games. He rarely runs anymore but has been solid with yardage and at least one score if not two.

Out on the road the 49ers defense has allowed two scores to four of the last opponents and the lone exception was Peyton Manning who did not score but had 347 passing yards. Four of the road trips by the 49ers saw them give up 280+ passing yards. There is no reason why McNabb should not have a solid game this week with a chance for big numbers if Vick doesn't steal any thunder or the running game take off.

Running Backs: The Eagles - like the 49ers until last week - have little to show in the running game because no runner has ever had more than 20 carries for them this year. Leonard Weaver has scored in each of the last two games but never had more than 40 rushing yards or ten carries. He scored in Atlanta on a reception and had 63 yards on two catches but usually has just one inconsequential reception each week.

LeSean McCoy has been much more effective in home games and does contribute three or four catches each week. He had three scores on the year but none since week 11.

Brian Westbrook may be back this week after being out from his concussion. I am not adding him in at this point and all he would do is detract from Weaver and McCoy. It would just become a committee of three instead of two.

The 49ers have been mostly good against the run but horrible in a few games where they gave up multiple rushing scores. On the road it is safe to expect them to give up more rushing yardage than usual and a touchdown would be in order as well. Look for decent yardage for McCoy and Weaver has the better chance of a short rushing score.

Wide Receivers: Jeremy Maclin has a foot injury that held him out last week but HC andy Reid said he has a shot at returning this week. He tore part of his plantar fascia but he may end up sitting this week out to help heal up for the playoffs. The Eagles should be able to win this week without him. Reggie Brown and Jason Avant covered for him last week.

Of course they did little because DeSean Jackson was busy having a career best game with six catches for 178 yards and a score. He also scored on a punt return as well. That makes three straight games with a score by Jackson who has seven receiving scores on the year and one rushing touchdown.

The 49ers are only average against receivers in road games and the biggest names are the ones that hurt them the most - Jennings, Wayne, Rice, Fitzgerald, etc. No reason to expect the 49ers to be able to finally stop Jackson from his scoring streak. No other receiver here is worthy of any fantasy consideration though unless Maclin shows up fully healthy which is unlikely.

Tight Ends: Brent Celek had scored seven times this year including the last two games. His yardage tends to remain around 30 or 40 unless the opponent forces the Eagles to throw more. The 49ers have only allowed one touchdown pass to a tight end this year but plenty have turned in nice yardage. Though the trends of the 49ers do not support it, I like Celek to score this week especially with Maclin hobbled.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 3 20 11 11 2 2
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 15 24 20 11 25 12

The Huddle
WEEK 15
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Saturday
Monday
Other Features
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Early Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
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