I could sit here and lay out a handful of matchups to keep an eye on in the Eagles week 4 matchup with San Francisco. Point out how both teams are decimated by injuries, or how Philly can take advantage of the 49ers.
But none of that stuff matters if Carson Wentz comes out and plays the type of football he’s capable of playing.
The Eagles should have the clear cut advantage at quarterback this week, with Jimmy Garoppolo listed as out for the second straight week. Nick Mullens will fill in again in week 4, after throwing for 343 yards and a touchdown in their week 3 victory over the New York Giants.
Wentz hasn’t come close to having that good of a game this season. But forget the stats, Wentz is obviously the more talented gun slinger in this one.
Like the end of last season, Wentz will have and assortment of inexperience to work with at the wide receiver position. DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery and Jalen Reagor are all out, along with J.J. Arcega-Whiteside being listed as doubtful. Greg Ward and John Hightower are the only two healthy wideouts on the roster as of right now, but the team will probably elevate Deontay Burnett and Travis Fulgham from their practice squad. Quez Watkins will miss his fourth straight game this week.
Ward is the only one of this group with over 20 career receptions, and he’s really the only one who has any kind of rapport with Wentz. I expect Ward to be heavily involved this week, as he was last week.
Zach Ertz should also get a lot of looks this week, and the 49ers defense will undoubtedly key in on him. Especially with Dallas Goedert out. Ertz is the Eagles’ only legit pass catcher right now and Wentz has always relied on him throughout his career.
I hope Doug Pederson employs a balanced attack this week, it’s really the only way I see Wentz getting out of this funk he’s in. If he asks Wentz to sling it all over the yard, he’s bound to turn it over. Let the game come to Wentz, allow him to play within the game plan and not be forced to perform his super hero act.
It’s not all on Doug, Wentz has missed open throws a lot this season. But if things are churning in the right direction early in this Sunday Night matchup, Wentz hitting his passes on time and Miles Sanders getting efficient yardage on the ground, it should lead to a solid night out of Wentz and this offense.
There’s no way around it — Wentz just has to play better for this team to have any chance at a victory against San Fran, or any chance at turning this season around for that matter. None of the other matchups matter nearly as much.
There aren’t any stats to justify the thought that Wentz will turn this around. But we’ve all seen the kind of quarterback he can be when things are clicking.
Sunday Night football, under the lights, all eyes will be on Wentz. Will he have his MJ moment and show the whole world the last three games were just a bump in the road? Or will he prove all the doubters right? We’ll all find out very soon.