So, it seems like every piece on SB Nation Bay Area related to the 49ers begins with "the team is now ..." followed by a zero, followed by the game they've played thus far, signifying that they've yet to win a contest. Maybe at the end of this story stream that will be different, maybe not. But, since I teased you with it, the 49ers are an 0-4 football team going into week five against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Reports coming out of Philly right now state that quarterback Michael Vick will be out on Sunday and that the 49ers can expect Kevin Kolb to get the start. Kolb entered the 2010 season as the starter after the team shopped long-time QB Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins. A couple of benchings later, coupled with the stellar play of Vick, and the Eagles soon had a new starter.
So it should be a good sign for 49ers fans, then, that the chapter in Michael Vick's comeback season will skip a few pages in week five and Kevin Kolb will pick back up, hopefully where he started the season. There's also a chance they'll be without their starting running back, LeSean McCoy, which is another good sign for the 49ers. Even without these two in the lineup though, it's a talented offense under the consistent guidance of Andy Reid, with playmaking receiver DeSean Jackson being the threat that the 49ers will be paying the most attention to in the film room.
On defense, the Eagles hover around the 11th overall mark in almost every category, but hold an impressive fifth in turnover differential, which seems like it will be the key once again for the 49ers offense: not shooting themselves in the foot. Two costly interceptions from Smith in the Falcons game (alongside Nate Clements's end-of-the-game fumble) and a staggering four deflating turnovers in New Orleans can't return, a repeat performance of any of those will surely result in the 49ers going 0-5 up against this opportunistic defense and strong, consistent offense.
Alex Smith and Mike Singletary are "attached at the hip," as CSN's Matt Maiocco noted recently. Singletary is standing by the oft-troubled quarterback, and while it's not the move many 49ers fans want, it's the only one that makes sense considering who is behind Smith: David Carr, Troy Smith and Nate Davis. Not exactly a confidence-inspiring group, to say the least.
The key to winning this game for the 49ers will be to use Frank Gore, Brian Westbrook and Anthony Dixon. They need to run the ball, but they need to do it intelligently. New offensive coordinator seemed like a marked improvement over Jimmy Raye last Sunday against the Falcons and he'll need to improve even more to actually come out with a win.