San Francisco 49ers (1-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (0-1)
The Eagles are a tough team to project right now. Their supporting cast isn’t bad, as their offensive line is much healthier than a year ago, their receiving corps are better, and their secondary has added key players like Anthony Harris and Steven Nelson, but quarterback Jalen Hurts is still a big question mark. Hurts struggled mightily as a passer in his limited action as a starter as a rookie last season, but was one of the best passers in the league in week one, albeit against a Falcons defense that could be the worst in the league. If he can be a capable starting quarterback, with a combination of his rushing ability and improved passing ability, the Eagles could be a decent team this season, in which case they probably shouldn’t be 3-point underdogs this week.
The 49ers were one of my top teams in the league going into week one and looked dominant against a bad Lions team before taking their foot off the gas in the fourth quarter and somehow nearly blowly a 28-point lead. I still think they are one of the better teams in the league, but a big reason I expected them to improve was they would likely have significantly better health than a year ago, which hasn’t quite gone as planned.
They were significantly better than their 6-10 record suggested last season even with all their injuries and they are nowhere near as banged up now as they were a year ago, but they lost starting running back Raheem Mostert for the season and their defense will be without at least four expected starters, cornerbacks Jason Verrett and Emmanuel Moseley, linebacker Dre Greenlaw, and defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, while fellow starting defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw barely practiced this week and could be in line to miss his second straight game, after being labelled questionable. It could be a tough ask for them to come to Philadelphia and win by more than a touchdown. I’m going to take the Eagles this week, but it’s hard to be confident because Jalen Hurts’ week one performance could be mostly the result of an awful Falcons defense.
San Francisco 49ers 19 Philadelphia Eagles 17
Pick against the spread: Philadelphia +3