The San Francisco 49ers are the hottest team in the NFL, running off a franchise-record 12 straight victories (and, as you might have heard, doing much of that with an “irrelevant” QB).
The Philadelphia Eagles, on the other hand, may well be the best team in the NFL, steamrolling the NFC East on their way to home field advantage in the playoffs.
Something’s gotta give on Sunday, that’s for sure. But will it be the team with the hot hand or the one with no obvious flaws?
If you ask Vegas, the answer is the Eagles — but it’s going to be close. The Birds are 2.5-point favorites in this one, and since most sharps believe that playing at home is worth 2 points in and of itself, this is basically a pick ‘em.
49ers vs Eagles Betting Odds
With so few points separating these two teams, it might not even seem worth it looking at their records against the spread. It seems unlikely the Eagles could win and not cover, after all.
Even so, the Eagles are an impressive 6-2 ATS in their last eight playoff games, which might seem like they’re the clear pick here. Hold your horses, though — the Niners are 9-1 ATS following a victory in their last 10 games.
Both teams have a slight tendency to hit the over — San Francisco is 10-9, whereas Philly is 10-8 — but that might not matter in a game where both defenses are this good (and one of the quarterbacks is not).
Neither team is dealing with major injuries from last week, although both might have star WRs who are a bit gimpy in this one, as Deebo Samuel and AJ Brown will both be playing through lower-body ailments.
With all this in mind, how should you bet on this one? Read on for more expert analysis, Eagles odds, and more.
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San Francisco 49ers vs Philadelphia Eagles Game Info
- Teams: San Francisco 49ers (13-4) vs Philadelphia Eagles (14-3)
- Date: Sunday, January 29
- Time: 3:00 PM EST
- Location: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA
- Channel: FOX
- Odds: Click here
49ers vs Eagles NFC Championship Injury Report
San Francisco 49ers:
- QB Jimmy Garoppolo – ankle (out)
- RB Elijah Mitchell – groin (probable)
- RB Christian McCaffrey – calf (probable)
- WR Deebo Samuel – ankle (probable)
- T Lane Johnson – groin (probable)
- CB Avonte Maddox – toe (probable)
While not technically an injury, San Francisco will also be dealing with the legal issues surrounding starting DE Charles Omenihu’s recent domestic violence arrest.
Omenihu is expected to play in this one, but it will be interesting to see if his off-field troubles cause any issues for either him or his teammates.
History of the 49ers-Eagles Rivalry
While it might seem like these two teams have been regularly punishing each other for decades, they’ve only met 35 times, with San Francisco holding a 20-14-1 edge. They’ve also only met in the playoffs one time, a 14-0 49ers victory in the 1996 wild-card round.
The 49ers dominated the series in the 1950s and ‘60s, going 4-1-1 against the Eagles. The Eagles would then take the next two in 1975 and 1983 — but then a couple of guys named Joe Montana and Jerry Rice showed up to tilt the balance of power yet again.
San Francisco would win five straight with that dynamic duo, although surprisingly we were never treated to a Bill Walsh – Buddy Ryan matchup in the playoffs during that time. We can only imagine what that might have looked like (probably San Francisco escaping with bumps, bruises, and a narrow win).
The teams split the next four games in the ‘90s, but since then, the Eagles have found their footing in the series. They hold an 8-5 edge this millennium, including putting together their own 5-game winning streak.
However, the last time these teams played, it was the Niners who got the last laugh, taking a 17-11 victory over the Birds last season in Philadelphia.
There’s a bit more riding on this matchup than there was on that one, though.
Will the Eagles overcome their series deficit and take the biggest game these two have ever played against one another? Or will the Niners add to their series lead?
Related Reading: Fifteen of the best Philadelphia Eagles moments
Keys to the Eagles vs 49ers Game: Predictions for the NFC Championship
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: the Niners’ chances of victory will likely rest on how well 7th-round pick (and former “Mr. Irrelevant”) Brock Purdy handles the big stage.
While Purdy hasn’t exactly set the league on fire, he has been able to do just enough to win in each of his seven starts. That’s largely because San Francisco hasn’t asked him to do too much, choosing instead to favor a run-first attack behind All-Pro RB Christian McCaffrey.
San Francisco also has the good fortune of boasting one of the top defenses in the league, led by star DE Nick Bosa. Surprisingly enough, though, while the Niners have been stout against the run (2nd in the NFL), they’re vulnerable against the pass, as they rank a mere 21st in passing defense.
That’s good news for an Eagles team whose best player is their quarterback.
While Jalen Hurts didn’t put up eye-popping numbers, his QBR was good enough for fourth in the league, and he’s a dual-threat QB who can hurt you just as bad with his legs as his arm.
And, while they might not get all the publicity that the Niners’ unit does, the Eagles D might actually be better than San Francisco’s. No team gave up fewer yards per play than Philly’s 4.8, and they also gave up the fewest passing yards in the league.
That’s bad news for a shaky rookie QB like Brock Purdy. Of course, as we’ve already seen, the Niners will likely try to run the ball down Philly’s throat, and the Eagles only have the 17th-ranked rush defense in the league.
At the end of the day, this one will likely come down to who wins the battle up-front between Philly’s front seven and the Niners’ o-line.
The Niners Will Win If… (Our Niners Prediction)
- The Line Can Protect Brock Purdy: Purdy has shown admirable poise in the pocket this season, including in the win over Dallas last week. In that game, the Cowboys brought pressure on 16 of his 33 drop-backs, and Purdy was able to survive without committing any turnovers.
Unfortunately, though, while he didn’t kill the team with picks or fumbles, he wasn’t terribly effective on those plays, either. Purdy was 4-for-12 for 55 yards, and he was sacked twice and forced out of the pocket twice as well.
We’re not saying that you should expect Purdy to resemble prime Aaron Rodgers if he gets protection — we just don’t think he’ll be able to lead the Niners on any sort of sustained drive if he’s constantly running for his life.
- Purdy Can Make Some Plays with His Legs: When facing a vulnerable QB like Purdy, the temptation will always be there to rush as often as possible — and the Eagles already pressure the quarterback 24.6% of the time, good for 3rd in the league.
You can expect DC Jonathan Gannon to dial up a few exotic blitz packages for this one, as well as try to figure out innovative ways to unleash star pass rush Haason Reddick. Bringing extra defenders could also help put the clamps on McCaffrey and fellow RB Elijah Mitchell.
There’s one thing that could spoil this plan, however: Purdy’s legs. While he seldom demonstrates it, the QB is a deceptively skilled runner, and he ran a 4.8 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. If he can make some plays happen with his feet, it will open up the offense and make Gannon rethink bringing pressure.
- The Pass Rush Puts a Hurtin’ on Hurts: Jalen Hurts looked like a legitimate MVP candidate until a late-season shoulder injury sidelined him for several of the Eagles’ last few games, including two of their three losses.
It doesn’t take an expert prognosticator to pinpoint the fact that Hurts is key to the Birds’ success — and it doesn’t take an orthopedic surgeon to suggest that he might be experiencing lingering effects from that injury.
If Nick Bosa and the Niners’ formidable pass rush can get to Hurts early and often, they may be able to limit his effectiveness or even knock him out of the game entirely. While backup Gardner Minshew is one of the better insurance plans in the league, it’s hard to see him leading Philly to victory against possibly the best defense in the NFL.
It’s a tall order to ask though, as Philadelphia’s offensive line has ranked number one in the league all season, giving Jalen Hurts robust protection along the way.
The Philadelphia Eagles Will Win If… (Our Eagles Prediction)
- Hurts Leads with His Arm and Not His Feet: While the Niners are known for making life miserable for opposing quarterbacks, their ability to generate sacks also masks their most glaring weakness: their secondary.
The team is in the bottom half of the league in pass defense, and they’re especially vulnerable to the long ball, ranking 24th in DVOA for passes traveling longer than 20 yards. They’ve also been lit up by deep threats like Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill this season.
While Hurts’s ability to scramble will always make him supremely dangerous, the Eagles may be better off if he sits in the pocket and targets AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith downfield instead.
- They Tackle Successfully: One of the biggest reasons why San Francisco has been so successful this season is the team’s ability to extend plays. The Niners tied the Chiefs and Panthers for the lead in YAC this season, with 6.6.
Coach Kyle Shanahan is a master at exploiting that success as well. His schemes routinely get the ball to his players in space, and the roster is full of hard-to-bring-down stars like McCaffrey, Samuel, and TE George Kittle.
Eagles DC Jonathan Gannon went so far as to suggest the game will hinge on his team’s ability to tackle successfully, calling it the “key to their success.” If they can get the Niners’ ball carriers on the ground immediately after making contact, it’s hard to see how San Francisco will generate any sustained momentum on offense.
- Miles Sanders Hits the Over on Rushing Yards and Receptions: Eagles RB Miles Sanders has seen his usage rate drop in recent weeks, as fellow backs Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott have eaten into both his receptions and rushing attempts.
According to BetMGM, the over/under for Sanders’s rushing yards is set at 51.5, and his receptions total is set at 1.5. Those are modest numbers, and while Sanders will never be expected to carry the bulk of the offense load like his counterpart McCaffrey, he’ll need to best them to give the Eagles a good shot at victory here.
Sanders’s success is especially important because if he’s not targeted, that usually means that Hurts has chosen to make plays with his feet instead — and as we’ve already mentioned, Philly wants to limit the damage to their star QB as much as possible.
San Francisco 49ers vs Philadelphia Eagles Betting Guide
Here are some of the best bets we’ve picked out for this weekend’s NFC championship game showdown.
Lock in these bets with BetMGM.
As we’ve already mentioned, if the 49ers are to be successful against the Eagles then Purdy is going to have to find his legs. He’s more than capable of doing so, and we expect him to easily hit over 8.5 yards on Sunday afternoon.
RUN CMC is the 49ers’ most devastating weapon. He can harm you via the run game, and he’s also one of the best pass-catching backs in the league. For such a versatile weapon, -120 is excellent value. We expect the Niners to get into the red zone more than a few times, and Christian McCaffrey will loom large over the Eagles’ defense.
From one team’s most potent red zone threat to the other. Jalen Hurts has managed a touchdown six times in his last five games. Throughout the season he’s always been Philly’s most reliable rusher, managing a total of 13 touchdowns to lead the squad in scoring. Only Miles Sanders came close to that total with 11 of his own.
It’s going to be an extremely tight affair and the spread certainly reflects that; however, we can’t pass up on a +2.5 for what is essentially the hottest team in football right now. Sure, they struggled last week against a tenacious Dallas Cowboys team, but they managed to pull it out. Given a few noted caveats, we expect Kyle Shanahan and his boys to keep rolling here.
Key Players to Watch in the San Francisco 49ers vs Philadelphia Eagles NFC Championship Game
Leading defensive player of the year candidate Nick Bosa is going to have to put in a stellar performance to help steer the Niners to victory here. Luckily for them, he’s been doing that in the regular season all year long – and he’s shown no signs of slowing down in the playoffs.
Although the main storyline for the Niners coming into the game will be centered around Mr. Irrelevant quarterback Brock Purdy, it’s their rushing attack that will be concerning Nick Sirianni and his staff the most. Expect a premier performance from Christian McCaffrey with potential award-winning cameos from Elijah Mitchell.
All eyes will be firmly on Jalen Hurts as he shakes off a shoulder injury that kept him sidelined for the final games of the season. It seems obvious to say, but he really is the key to much of Philly’s success and if he gets hit hard and early, it could be a long night for the Philly faithful.
If Hurts can stay healthy and develop a solid passing game, he’ll be looking for his star receiver A.J. Brown to help him put up the points. The big free agent signing from Tennessee has been a huge success for Philadelphia, hauling in a tied-3rd in the league 11 touchdowns this year.
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Guide to Betting on Philadelphia Eagles vs San Francisco 49ers
What happened in the most recent meeting between the Eagles and Niners?
The last time these two teams met was in 2021 at the Lincoln Financial Field. The Niners were victorious with a final scoreline of 17 to 11.
Will either team have a good chance to win the Super Bowl LVII?
Yes, both teams are excellent candidates to win it all. Neither team will relish having to play against Joe Burrow or Patrick Mahomes, but both are entirely capable of getting it done.
Is Brock Purdy a good quarterback?
The jury is still out. There is a rush to evaluate players quickly and make snap judgments about their ability, especially rookies. Just ask Jalen Hurts about how some people used to view him.
Brock Purdy has done an admirable job so far as a third-string rookie for the San Francisco 49ers, that much is true. But whether he has the longevity and guile to last as a starting QB in the NFL is another question entirely.
Have Jalen Hurts and Brock Purdy ever faced off before?
Yes, they have. The last time these two quarterbacks met was in college, where Jalen Hurts led the Oklahoma Sooners to a narrow victory 42 to 41 over Brock Purdy’s Iowa State University.
Ready to Bet on the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers NFC Championship Game?
This is the pick of the conference championship game this weekend, without a shadow of a doubt. Not only are these two of the best teams in the league, but they’re also among the most finely balanced – boasting elite ability in both offense and defense.
It also features two extremely worthy coach-of-the-year candidates. Kyle Shanahan and Nick Sirianni are both leading the youth revolution for NFL coaches in the league, and have two of the most exciting teams to show for their efforts.
We know this will disappoint some of you reading, but we’ve got the Niners taking this by just a nose.
The good news is, you don’t have to listen to us! Not when it comes to our predictions anyway – we do heartily recommend you sign-up at BetMGM to make your wagers.
Whoever you decide to back in this NFC championship game, always remember our golden rules: Have fun and please gamble responsibly.
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