The top-seeded Eagles will host the second-seeded 49ers in the NFC championship game Sunday. Kickoff is at 3 p.m. and this will be a good one. The Eagles are favored at SI Sportsbook by 2.5 points and the game total is set at 46.5.
Philadelphia enters this contest with an extra day of rest, in addition to home-field advantage.
These two teams last clashed September 2021 and Francisco won that game, 17-11, in Philadelphia, but both teams are very different today.
Nick Sirianni’s team has lost only five games since Week 10 of last season—and only two of those losses were in games started by quarterback Jalen Hurts. Kyle Shanahan’s team made it to the NFC championship game last year with Jimmy Garoppolo, but is now starting an unheralded rookie quarterback in Brock Purdy, who is undefeated since taking over the starting job in Week 13.
Hurts looked well-rested and healthy last week as the Eagles decimated the Giants, 38-7. Hurts carried the ball nine times and scored a rushing touchdown, in addition to passing for 154 yards and two touchdowns. The Eagles got a lead early and grinded the run game as they chewed up the clock.
Running backs Miles Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott accounted for 234 yards and two scores on the ground. Wide receiver Devonta Smith and tight Dallas Goedert caught Hurts’s touchdown passes, while A.J. Brown had a quiet game with only three catches for 22 yards.
The team that was second in the league in points per game this season (28.6) looked like it could score any way it wanted to. the Eagles ranked fifth in rushing yards per game (147.6) in the regular season, while passing for the third-most yards (389.1), behind only the Chiefs and the Bills.
Defensively, the league’s sixth-best defense looked every bit as tough as promised while stymying Brian Daboll’s team, as quarterback Daniel Jones was held to only 159 total yards. Running back Matt Breida scored the Giants’ only touchdown.
The Eagles allowed 20.2 points per game during the regular season and a mere 179.8 passing yards per game—the best mark in the league. The Eagles had 27 takeaways, tied for the fourth-best mark in the league.
The San Francisco 49ers played an unspectacular offensive game vs. the tough Cowboys’ defense, but it was enough to get the job done. Purdy accounted for 222 total yards, with San Francisco’s only touchdown coming courtesy of running back Christian McCaffrey.
However, the league’s number one defense looked exactly that, allowing the league’s fourth-best offense a mere 12 points in the low-scoring affair.
The 49ers’ 28.6 points per game ranked sixth in the league and San Francisco rushed for an average of 121.4 yards per game during the regular season.
The Niners yielded only 77.7 rushing yards per game during the regular season, second only to the Titans. The way to get to San Francisco will be through the air, as the 223 passing yards allowed per game this year was bottom-12 in the league. However, the team’s 30 takeaways rank third ahead of the Eagles.
Expect Shanahan to lean on his run game as the Eagles’ pass defense will be tough to beat. Tight end George Kittle continues to the the top receiver for Purdy. Meanwhile playmaker Deebo Samuel could be unleashed in a variety of ways to keep the Eagles guessing. Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk and running back Elijah Mitchell will also get in on the action.
Sirianni will certainly try to establish the run for Philadelphia, but it may be difficult vs. the tough Niners’ defense. Expect Hurts to be unleashed in the passing game and connect with Brown, Smith and Goedert, as San Francisco can give up points through the air. Hurts ranked fifth among starters that played in at least nine games this season with a passer rating of 101.5.
Who ranked ahead of him? Purdy (107.3) and Garoppolo (103).
Sirianni has the star quarterback, but Shanahan has what could be a fool-proof (or at least rookie-proof) system.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Philadelphia Eagles NFC Championship Game Odds
Moneyline: 49ers (+120) | Eagles (-143)
Spread: 49ers +2.5 (+110) | Eagles -2.5 (-118)
Total: 46.5 Over (-110) | Under (-110)
Game Info: Jan. 29, 2023 | 3 p.m. ET | Fox
49ers Straight-Up Record: 15-4
49ers Against The Spread Record: 13-6
Eagles Straight-Up Record: 15-3
Eagles Against The Spread Record: 9-9
Odds and Betting Insights
Philadelphia is 9-5 against the spread (ATS) after a win, while San Francisco is 10-4 ATS after a win. The 49ers are 1-0 ATS as an away underdog and the Eagles are 7-3 ATS as a home favorite, including last week’s cover as a 7.5-point favorite.
San Francisco is actually 3-0 ATS with rest disadvantage, while Philadelphia is 2-1 ATS with rest advantage. The 49ers are 12-2 ATS in conference games this season, compared to the Eagles’ 6-7 ATS mark in conference games.
The 49ers have also covered the spread in both playoff games this year,
Both teams have gone over their game totals ten times this year.
Despite how evenly these teams are matched on paper, I am backing the Eagles to cover the spread. Philadelphia has the edge at quarterback and with CMC dealing with a calf issue, it might be just enough to tip it to the home team’s favor.