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Keys To The Game

A win puts the Eagles in the playoffs. Here are the keys to defeating the 49ers later this afternoon ...

Ball security – San Francisco is very good at forcing fumbles. Safety Dashon Goldson loves to put his helmet right on the ball. LeSean McCoy has a loose style of carrying the ball. He tightens up in traffic, but he needs to be extra careful this week. Donovan McNabb also needs to be careful in the pocket.

Kick protection – Last year the Niners blocked a field goal and ran it back for a score in the game against us. That play had a huge impact on the game. Last week, we allowed the Giants to block an extra point. We managed to win both times, but that will catch up to us eventually. Ted Daisher needs to have his blockers tighten things up.

Double Davis in the red zone – Vernon Davis has 11 touchdown catches on the year. The rest of the team has nine. Most of his scores come in the red zone. If San Francisco gets down in that area, we must double Davis and take him away. Make quarterback Alex Smith find someone else to throw to.

Keep running – The Niners are fifth in the league in run defense. They have a good nose tackle in Aubrayo Franklin that clogs the middle and they have a pair of outstanding inside linebackers in Takeo Spikes and All-Pro Patrick Willis. We must stick with the run even if it isn't working great. I think Leonard Weaver could be effective with his quick hitters. Our best hope with McCoy is to run him from the three-receiver set. The key blocker is center Jamaal Jackson. If he can block the nose tackle, we might have some success.

Tackling – This has already been covered all week, but it is true. We must tackle better. We need to make the Niners earn every yard. They lack explosive weapons. Let them throw the ball short, but come up and make the stop. Do this and they'll have a long day.

For my complete game preview, check out my Fan-Demonium column.

-- Posted by Tommy Lawlor, December 20, 7:01 a.m.

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