Christian McCaffrey: NFL’s leading rusher a key target in Eagles vs 49ers heavyweight bout

NFL leading rusher Christian McCaffrey the player to watch in the Week 13 battle between the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles.
San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks
San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks / Jane Gershovich/GettyImages

Get your popcorn ready.  In a rematch of the 2022 NFC Championship Game and a potential preview of the 2023 battle to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles square off for mid-season bragging rights.

In a big time, matchup with playmakers and game changers all over the field, the NFL’s leading rusher, Christian McCaffrey, may stand out as the key in who comes out on top in this battle.

Simply said, the Eagles’ defense knows slowing down McCaffrey is the key along with limiting what Brock Purdy does at quarterback.  Named FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week for the fourth time this season, CMC is coming off a game in which he rushed for 114 yards with two touchdowns in a 31-13 win over the Seattle Seahawks.  A similar performance this Sunday could mean a long day for the Eagles defense.

So how will Eagles defensive coordinator Sean Desai gameplan to limit McCaffrey?

“That’s a good question,” Desai told reporters this week.  “You’ve got to put bodies around him.  Have to get different looks, affect his route progression from different angles and put different matchups on him because they do a great job creating matchups there.  So, we’ve got to be able to have multiple different ways and different angles at which we want to cover him and leverage them.”

Philadelphia Eagles defense locked in on Christian McCaffrey

As a dual threat running back, McCaffrey can make life different for opposing defenses in multiple ways.  He can run between the tackles, is elusive in the open field and can catch the ball out of the backfield making him a matchup nightmare for linebackers.  To say the Eagles’ defense, have their work cut out for them is an understatement, but they do have the talent in the front seven to control the game.

Starting up front with Fletcher Cox, Jordan Davis, Jalen Carter, Brandon Graham and Josh Sweat, they can disrupt the line of scrimmage and if McCaffrey breaks it outside, the linebacker group led by the disruptive Hasson Reddick must contain him.


While the 49ers have other weapons and options who can be factors offensively, it really starts with the Purdy-McCaffery connection, particularly the NFL’s rushing leader who has proved in every way this reason that he is a complete back.

With that said, Christian McCaffrey vs the Eagles’ defense is going to be very fun to watch and could be the key in which team comes up on top.