Coming off what could be a season-defining victory with the potential to catalyze a Super Bowl run, the NFL-best Philadelphia Eagles (10-1) have the opportunity to cement themselves as the best team in the NFC with a victory over the San Francisco 49ers (8-3), the team they thumped 31-7 in last season’s NFC Championship Game.
The 49ers, who lost starting quarterback Brock Purdy to injury during the loss and were forced to turn to journeyman Josh Johnson as their offense eroded to an embarrassing level, have had Sunday’s game circled on their calendar since the NFC Championship last January. Some, including wide receiver Deebo Samuel, have not been shy about looking forward to getting a second shot at the Eagles.
Samuel, who said in May that the wrong team went to the Super Bowl after winning last January, went so far as to call Eagles cornerback James Bradberry “trash” during a Super Bowl-week podcast, while his teammate Brandon Aiyuk said the Eagles were “extremely lucky” to win against San Francisco.
Haason Reddick and the Eagles Are Ready to Run It BackReddick led Philadelphia’s top-ranked defense with 16 sacks last season
Earlier this week, neither player backtracked from their trash talk ahead of Sunday’s 49ers-Eagles rematch. “I don’t regret nothing I said,” Samuel said. “We definitely know what happened last season. A lot of words went back and forth,” Aiyuk added. “But, despite that, we have another opportunity to play football, and they have another opportunity. Both sides are excited for that.”
At least one player on the other side, Haason Reddick, is admitting he’s excited to get another crack at deep-sixing the Niners. “Talk is cheap,” Reddick said. “You know, they get to come back in The Linc [Lincoln Financial Field]. It was a lot of boo hoos last year, a lot of crying, a lot of what if, a lot of this, a lot of that. They get a chance to come back in here, line that shit up and prove it again.”
Football fans are hoping that’s exactly what happens as Sunday afternoon’s matchup, which will air nationally on Fox, is shaping up to be the game of the weekend and could end up being one of the best games of the year if both teams show up to play. The Eagles come in riding a five-game winning streak and the 49ers have won three games in a row, so something has got to give. This time around, the 49ers are hoping it won’t be Purdy.
“All the trash talk and all this has been going back and forth, whether this person is that person or whatever,” Samuel said of the 49ers-Eagles rematch. “But I feel like we have a healthy team right now. I’m just looking forward to get out here and go against these guys. We know we’re coming out there and playing Niner football. And, hey, we playing pretty good ball right now. I feel like it’s going to be a good matchup.”
After all the chatter, it better be. (Although America will watch either way.)