NFL: the association final between the 49ers and Eagles promises a duel with a flavor of yesteryear

The National Association final between the 49ers and the Eagles will be presented at 3 p.m. Sunday on RDS and


Impenetrable defenses, explosive ground game and toughness at the line of scrimmage: everything is in place for an old-time football-flavored duel between the San Francisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday afternoon, in the NFL National Conference Finals.

But it will also be necessary to monitor the talented players of the two teams in key positions.

For the Eagles, running back Miles Sanders, wide receivers AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith, as well as tight end Dallas Goedert, will be watching, not to mention quarterback Jalen Hurts.

For their part, the 49ers will rely on the services of running back Christian McCaffrey, as well as wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. Tight end George Kittle will try to limit the pressure on rookie quarterback Brock Purdy, the last pick in the last draft.

All in a duel that will pit the two best defenses in the NFL against each other, not to mention that the two teams are led by several of the best coaches that can be found in the sport.

However, the advantage of playing this crucial game at home can only go to one team, and it is the Eagles who will have that privilege on Sunday. The frenzied crowd in Philadelphia will no doubt be pumped up to make the game miserable for the San Francisco squad.

The Eagles (15-3) will hope to capitalize on the support of their fans to reach a third Super Bowl in 22 years, a streak during which they have reached the conference final seven times. Their last championship dates back to 2017.

As for the 49ers (15-4), this will be their 18th conference final (a record) and their second in as many years. They have a 7-10 record so far in their history.

The 49ers and their rookie quarterback

In his first season in the NFL, Purdy has an enviable 7-0 record since taking over from Jimmy Garoppolo, who was sidelined with an injury. Garoppolo had himself taken over from Trey Lance due to his own injury suffered during the second week of activities.

Purdy threw 16 touchdowns but made four interceptions. He got plenty of help, especially from McCaffrey. The latter amassed gains of 746 yards on the ground, in addition to 464 passing yards. He also had 10 touchdowns since being acquired from the Carolina Panthers.

Samuel, with 864 yards combined, and Aiyuk, with 1,015 yards, were also crucial pieces of the 49ers offense.

The attack of the formation of San Francisco will however have to be alert vis-a-vis the defense of the Eagles, which completed 70 sacks of the quarter. Javon Hargrave, Brandon Graham and Josh Sweat had 11 each.

The Eagles’ defense finished first in the NFL in assists this season, but was only 16th in the run game.

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan knows his best option will be to overuse the ground game to break through his opponents’ defensive line.

Several options for the Eagles

Most of the Eagles’ impressive season this year can be attributed to the outbreak of Hurts, who has carved out a place for himself as one of the league’s most complete players. The arrival of Brown has also given a significant boost to the aerial game.

But the Philadelphia team can boast of being able to beat teams both on the ground, with Sanders, Kenny Gainwell and Boston Scott, and by air.

But all of this wouldn’t be possible without the Eagles’ dominant offensive line, led by Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson.

Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni and offensive coordinator Shane Steichen implemented a system that allowed Hurts to thrive and the Eagles seemed unstoppable at times.

However, the 49ers have the best defense, thanks in large part to Nick Bosa, Fred Warner and Talanoa Hufanga.

Ultimately, 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, strongly tipped for a head coaching job, could be the Eagles’ number one enemy in this game.

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