- Philadelphia is -7 in turnover differential through three weeks, worst in the NFL.
The 49ers have been hit hard by injuries, but the impact hasn’t been fully felt yet. In Week 2, they were able to impose their will on the Jets, and the Giants in Week 3 hardly presented a stiffer test. Even with injuries to key defensive players like Nick Bosa, Richard Sherman, and Dee Ford, the 49ers’ defense has stood up against these weak opponents.
On the offensive side of the ball, George Kittle and Deebo Samuel are both expected to return. And head coach Kyle Shanahan’s scheme is well-designed to create easy throws in the short area of the field that should help backup quarterback Nick Mullens as he fills in for an injured Jimmy Garoppolo.
Meanwhile, the 0-2-1 Eagles have plenty of injuries of their own. Tight end Dallas Goedert and wide receiver DeSean Jackson will both miss the game, and Greg Ward was their only healthy wide receiver at one practice this week. You can see why San Francisco is favored by a full touchdown at home despite the defensive injuries and playing with their backup quarterback.
But the points are ultimately too much. The Eagles are playing for their season, and their defense in particular has been solid given the lack of support they’ve gotten from the offense. So far this season, the Eagles have turned the ball over eight times compared to just one takeaway. That type of massive turnover differential typically skews results.
Carson Wentz will have to play better, and he won’t have much help. But the 49ers aren’t anywhere near 100% on defense, and I don’t believe what we’ve seen from Philadelphia through three weeks dictates that this will be one of the league’s worst offenses all season. Even down some skill players, if Wentz does keep from turning the ball over at a high rate, this is a game the Eagles can cover. If the 49ers do ultimately win, they will do so by trying to control the ball and limit the potential for big mistakes from Mullens. The Eagles should stay within striking distance of a backdoor cover even in a worst-case scenario.
But that’s not what we’re hoping for here. There are two main reasons to make this bet: 1) Even with Wentz’s poor play of late, he’s the better quarterback; 2) Both teams’ recent results are likely skewing this line more than they should. I expect a competitive game where San Francisco isn’t able to run away with things like they did against the Jets and Giants over the past two weeks. Give me the points.
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NFL Expert Picks
PICK: Eagles + 7 @ +123
NFL Free Picks
We enter the fourth week of the NFL season with a blockbuster week featuring some enticing games. OddsChecker's crack team of handicappers, Ben Rolfe, Davis Mattek and Ben Gretch will be covering the very best games, including all of the primetime games.