Preview and betting tips for the NFC Championship game
There's a trip to Super Bowl 57 on the line Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia, where the San Francisco 49ers (regular season 13-4) oppose the Eagles (regular season 14-3) in the NFC title game. Philadelphia is listed as a 2½-point favorite (total of 46), according to NFL odds.
San Francisco last won the NFC in 2019, Philly in its world championship season of 2017.
It is a fitting conference conclusion, as these have been the two best teams throughout the regular and postseason.
Philadelphia is priced at 5-2 (+250) to win it all, San Francisco 3-1 (+300), per Super Bowl odds.
Starts With Niner Defense
The San Francisco 49ers have reeled off a dozen consecutive wins, having ended the regular season with 10 in a row before disposing of the Seattle Seahawks (41-23) and Dallas Cowboys (19-12) in the playoffs. This team is a Super Bowl contender–despite losing two quarterbacks- because the third-string quarterback has played out of mind and the defense is filthy.
It’s a unit that is first in both fewest points (16.3 points) and yards (300.6 yards) per game. Also, second against the run (77.7 yards/game), and in terms of takeaways (28). But, San Francisco was vulnerable (20th) against the pass, having surrendered 222.9 yards/game. There's a dominant front seven that pressures the quarterback with the help of the well-utilized delayed blitz.
Offensively, Christian McCaffrey has been used in a variety of ways, including splitting out as a receiver or on swing screens. Do not sleep on him throwing the ball.
Back to the quarterback. Brock Purdy, the Mr. Irrelevant draft’s last pick. All he’s done is win seven consecutive games, largely because of ball security. Purdy had 13 touchdowns and four interceptions during the regular season, then has added three touchdowns (no picks) in the playoffs. The 49ers had only 17 giveaways, the third-fewest in the league.
During the season, the 49ers were sixth in scoring (26.5 points per game), fifth in yardage (365.6 yards/game, 226.8 passing yards/game, 138.8 rushing yards/game).
Eagles a Tough Out
The development of Jalen Hurts as a quarterback is a big reason why the Philadelphia Eagles are in the position they are.
Wide receiver A.J. Brown (88 catches, 1,496 yards, 11 touchdowns) in his debut season in Philadelphia has obviously been a favorite Hurts' target.
Brown's wideout running mate DeVonta Smith, and tight end Dallas Goedert are also tough covers. In a 38-7 slapping of the New York Giants last week, running back Kenny Gainwell had 112 yards (12 curries) and a touchdown, proving difficult to tackle.
The Eagle offense ranked third in scoring (28.1 points per game) and yardage (389.1 per game) during the season. They were ninth in passing (241.5 yards/game). fifth in rushing (147.6 yards/game).
Hurts had 760 rushing yards (13 touchdowns), while Miles Sanders added 1,269 yards (11 touchdowns). The run-pass option is another element the 49ers need to figure out.
Philly was fifth with 19 giveaways, third with 27 takeaways. The defense ended second in surrendered acreage (301.5 yards/game) and was first against the pass, yielding just 179.8 yards per game. The Eagles D finished mid-pack in points permitted at 20.2 ppg.
Niners a Hot Prospect
The Eagles are the top seed, thus the home team and favored by 2.5 points at top online sportsbooks BetUS.
However, the 49ers have a great offensive scheme designed by coach Kyle Shannahan, while their defensive coordinator, DeMeco Ryans, figures to get a team of his own next season.
This will come down to the turnover margin and who converts those crucial third and (potentially) fourth-down situations.
Back the 49ers plus the 2.5 points (-105) and to win (+125).