The 49ers were considered by many to be the prohibitive favorites to win the NFC West at the start of the season. The first quarter hasn't gone quite the way the team would have expected. They've lost all four of their games. Two of them were within a field goal. Offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye was relieved of his duties.
Last week's loss to the Falcons epitomized the way the season has gone. Armed with a 14-13 in the final two minutes, 49ers cornerback Nate Clements picked off Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, which should have sealed the win. But on the return, wide receiver Roddy White made what could be the hustle play of the year as he chased down Clements and knocked the ball loose from his grasp. It was recovered by guard Harvey Dahl. With a second chance, the Falcons didn't waste it as Matt Bryant kicked a 43-yard field goal with just two seconds left.
The Eagles know that while the 49ers are winless, the record is certainly deceiving.
"They should have beat the Falcons. It really came down to a fluke play at the end," strong safety Quintin Mikell said. "And the Saints, a team that everybody is all up on right now, they almost beat them. So they're definitely a good team. They have a lot of weapons. Just, for some reason, they can't pull it out.
"We're definitely not going to take this lightly at all, even if they are 0-4. We pulled the tape on them; we see what's going on. We're going to be ready to play. We don't have that luxury anyway, to overlook anybody. We basically got our butts kicked last week, so we've got to be ready to play."
Quarterback Kevin Kolb, who is set to start for the injured Michael Vick, knows that with the 49ers at home hosting a nationally televised game should inspire them to come out with guns blazing.
"If you're around (the game) long enough, you understand that everybody's good. Especially if you go back and you see the film and see the games they've played. They've been right there at the end of two of them, for sure,"" Kolb said. ""We know they're going to come out. They're going to come out on fire, and we've got to match their intensity and make sure that we come out of there with a win."
It seems like the Eagles and the 49ers meet each season. Sunday night's battle will be the fifth in the last six seasons. The only player on the Eagles who has faced the 49ers more in recent years is defensive end Darryl Tapp. Acquired in a trade this offseason from the Seahawks, Tapp has faced the 49ers twice a year for the past four seasons.
"They're a dangerous team despite what their record says. I've told the guys don't let that deceive you," Tapp said. "They're a good team. We have to come out ready to play. They're not going to lay down."
As badly as the 49ers will want their first win, the Eagles need to get on track after last week's loss to the Redskins.
"Every week your back is against the wall. Every week, every team is almost evenly matched," linebacker Moise Fokou said. "The (players) get paid just like we get paid and they put their shoes on just like we do. And we're coming off a loss ourselves. I know they haven't won at all, but I think we're just going in there trying to get back on track."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 1:30 p.m., October 9