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October 28, 2017

Nasty weather could be an equalizer in Eagles-49ers matchup

Eagles NFL

In their first seven games of the 2017 season, the Philadelphia Eagles have played in beautiful weather, with the lowest official game-time temperature being recorded at 67 degrees, with minimal precipitation.

 WeekMatchup Weather 
 1Eagles at Redskins  67 degrees, sunny, 5 MPH wind
 2Eagles at Chiefs 68 degree, cloudy, 7 MPH wind 
 3Giants at Eagles 89 degrees, sunny, 6 MPH wind 
 4Eagles at Chargers 72 degrees, sunny, 6 MPH wind 
 5Cardinals at Eagles 77 degrees, light showers, 10 MPH wind 
 6Eagles at Panthers 72 degrees, clear (night), 6 MPH wind 
 7Redskins at Eagles 70 degrees, cloudy, 9 MPH wind 

On Sunday, the Eagles and San Francisco 49ers will likely play in some nasty weather. According to, the forecast is as follows: 

Thunderstorms in the morning will give way to steady rain in the afternoon. High 68F. Winds SE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 100%. 1 to 2 inches of rain expected. Locally heavier rainfall possible. also notes that there could be gusts of wind up to 21 miles per hour.

More simply stated...

While Carson Wentz is from North Dakota where I assume it gets cold and rainy from time to time, he played in a dome in college and doesn't have much in the way of experience playing in nasty weather. Doug Pederson seemed only mildly unconcerned on Friday.

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"I think he'll be fine," said Pederson. "I mean, we just got to make sure we secure the snap, number one. And then ball security on handoffs, things of that nature just becomes a little more point of emphasis. He hasn't played in a ton of bad weather games because he played in a dome in college. It doesn't bother him though. He's lived it. He's had to live in the cold or the snow, the wet, the rain. He should be fine."

Passing game

One of the key things in rain-soaked conditions is simply being able to grip the football. That's where hand size can really come into play. After all, there's a reason they measure hands at the NFL Combine every year.

Wentz has 10" hands, which is an ideal size for a quarterback. According to, 10-inch hands would put Wentz in the 78th percentile for quarterbacks.

C.J. Beathard, on the other hand, has 9⅜" hands, which puts him in the 37th percentile, according to mockdraftable:

In addition to having bigger hands, Wentz clearly has a stronger arm than Beathard to push the ball through heavy winds, to go along with a quality target in the middle of the field like Zach Ertz.

Logically, the Eagles would have an advantage in trying to throw the football.

Run game

In the run game, the Eagles would have the advantage here as well. In their first seven games of the season, here is what the Eagles have done to opposing running backs:

 Opposing RBsRushes Yards YPC TD 
 Redskins13 34 2.6 
 Chiefs13 81 6.2 
 Giants17 49 2.9 
 Chargers13 58 4.5 
 Cardinals13 17 1.3 
 Panthers13 0.1 
 Redskins14 54 3.9 
 TOTAL96 294 3.1 

The 49ers' best skill position player is probably running back Carlos Hyde, who has 100 carries for 428 yards and 4 TDs on the season. The Eagles need to continue to take away the run first, as they do no matter when the conditions have been, and make Beathard try and beat them through the air.

Meanwhile, no team in the NFL has faced more rushing attempts than the Niners, mostly because they have been down in games this season. As a result, they have allowed 134.6 rushing yards per game (29th in the NFL), 8 rushing TDs (second-most allowed in the NFL), and they've allowed 59 rushing first downs (by far the most in the NFL).

Ideally, the Eagles can lean on their run game in this matchup, which again, favors them.

Is there an advantage either way?

Despite pointing out above that the Eagles logically have advantages in bad weather conditions over the Niners, they would have a decided advantage anyway in good weather, perhaps even more so.

Bad weather typically keeps scoring down, and could perhaps allow a bad Niners team to stay close on the scoreboard. Additionally, bad weather produces turnovers. If the Eagles find themselves on the wrong end of some turnovers due to a slippery ball, coupled with a low scoring game, the bad conditions could serve as something of an equalizer in this matchup.

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