Will the Eagles end the Brock Purdy fairy tale?

The calendar shows that the end of January is fast approaching and that means that the wheat is slowly but surely being separated from the chaff in the NFL. The top four of the 32 franchises, the best football league in the world, face each other in two duels on Sunday. The calculation is simple: The team that wins two more games this season will win the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy.

The first game on Sunday evening, at 9 p.m. German time, will be the “Conference Championship Game” of the “National Football League” between the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers. A bet on the favourites in the home game will bring odds of 1.70 at best.

The Eagles confirmed their supremacy in the NFC East last week in the divisional round by ending the Super Bowl dreams of their division rivals from New York. With a 38:7 victory over the Giants, they never threatened, and thus the “1st Seed” of the NFC is also a justified favourite going into the game.

The team from the Bay Area, the San Francisco 49ers, are now in the “Conference Championship Game” for the third time in four years. This adds another chapter to the Brock Purdy fairytale as the young playmaker becomes only the fifth rookie to start in a conference final. Those betting on him becoming the first rookie ever to even lead his team to the Super Bowl will get odds of 2.25 between the Eagles and 49ers. For head coach Kyle Shanahan, it would be the second Super Bowl appearance since 2019 with the franchise from California, which he has coached since 2017.

Philadelphia Eagles – Statistics & current form

The Philadelphia Eagles reached the playoffs again in their second year under head coach Nick Sirianni – and this time in impressive fashion. They were the only team besides the Kansas City Chiefs to win 14 games, securing first place in the NFC ahead of the 49ers, who finished the regular season with a 13-4 record. This means the top two teams will meet in the conference finals.

The best offense in the NFC

Especially offensively, Philly has taken a big step forward this season. Between seasons, they signed an extremely strong wide receiver in A.J. Brown from the Tennessee Titans, who went straight to being the primary kickoff man in his first Eagles season. In addition, they have an extremely strong number two receiver in DeVonta Smith. Remarkably, both are top ten in receiving yards in the NFL. However, they might not be performing as well had the quarterback not developed as tremendously as Jalen Hurts did in his third NFL year in terms of passing.

He set up 22 touchdown passes, scored 13 of his own and had only six interceptions. The offence thus has an even higher baseline than last season, because in addition – as he already proved in his first season as a starting quarterback – he is very agile on his feet and thus a good runner. This year, too, he averaged over 50 rushing yards per game in the regular season. Now, the best rushing defence in the entire league is waiting for him and his offence. However, between the Eagles and the 49ers, our prediction is that he could become kryptonite for them with his mobility and speed.

Additionally, the matchup now features the two defenses that have met this season, each allowing an average of just 300 yards to the opponent. Philly, however, conceded nearly four more points per game at 20.2. The Eagles’ defensive unit was the best pass defense over the 17 games of the regular season. However, the run defence, with 121.6 yards allowed per game, was consistently relatively vulnerable. When the Eagles host the 49ers, it’s a good bet that the visitors will be able to score with their creative and versatile running game, especially outside the numbers.

Key Players:
QB: Jalen Hurts
RB: Miles Sanders
WR: A.J. Brown
TE: Grant Calcaterra
K: Jake Elliott

San Francisco 49ers – Statistics & current form

If there’s one thing a team doesn’t need before the most important game of the year, it’s sideshows. But that’s exactly what opened up for the 49ers during the week, as defensive end Charles Omenihu was arrested Tuesday on domestic violence charges. According to the latest reports in the case, however, he should be able to remain on the roster for the game as he was released on bond. Omenihu’s absence would definitely be a weakening of the Defensive Line.

Unbeaten since late October

But now let’s look at the Niners’ sporting issues: On the one hand, there is of course the aforementioned fairytale about the 23-year-old rookie playmaker and, on top of that, the franchise’s longest winning streak – with 12 victories in a row – since 1984. Offensively and defensively, the Californians have everything a team needs to “hit the big time”. It’s always impressive how well quarterback Brock Purdy runs the offence. Above all, he has made very few mistakes so far. That’s why he was better than his counterpart last week, for example, in the 19:12 win against the Dallas Cowboys. That was also the deciding factor in the Niners’ victory.

He has a lot of offensive options that he can incorporate into the game. The best connection is probably with tight end George Kittle. But the other playmakers around pass receiver Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk and last but not least Christian McCaffrey should not be ignored. The latter has scored a touchdown in each of eight consecutive games, which is the longest streak in franchise history since 1988. Will he also manage a successful end-zone visit in the ninth game in a row? The odds between the Eagles and 49ers are 1.80.

As mentioned earlier, the defence has been the best in the league so far this season, yet they have struggled from time to time against good passing offenses. Against Dallas last week, they did a good job of shutting down the number one receiver in Ceedee Lamb, but the Eagles have two strong pass receivers. That will definitely pose problems for the defence. Add to that the aforementioned quarterback running game, which will also provide extreme danger.

Key Players:
QB: Brock Purdy
RB: Christian McCaffrey
WR: Deebo Samuel
TE: George Kittle
K: Robbie Gould

Philadelphia Eagles – San Francisco 49ers head-to-head comparison / H2H record

With Brock Purdy’s first year in the league, there hasn’t been a duel between these two playmakers in the NFL. However, the two faced off in college in 2019 and a near epic matchup unfolded there. That’s when the Oklahoma Sooners hosted the Iowa State Cyclones. The Sooners, with quarterback Jalen Hurts, narrowly retained the upper hand 42-41, with his counterpart being the better playmaker on the field with five touchdown passes.

The Eagles’ matchup against the 49ers also means that the NFC’s offense, which scores the most points and yards per game, will face the defense, which allows the fewest points and the fewest yards per game. All experts agree that it will be an absolute heavyweight duel in the “National Football Conference”, as the two most complete teams will meet.

Only once did the two franchises face each other in the playoffs. Back then, the Niners won 14-0, but that meeting was 26 years ago. The last game was also won by the Californians with 17:11 in the previous season.

Philadelphia Eagles – San Francisco 49ers Tip

We definitely expect a top game and a match on equal terms between the Eagles and 49ers. However, our prediction is that the home side will prevail. Over the season, they have been the marginally better team and we see the Niners at a disadvantage due to their quarterback play. We believe that Purdy’s fairytale will end at Lincoln Financial Field. There is one additional statistic in favour of the hosts: they are extremely strong on 3rd downs and the Californian defence is vulnerable exactly there.

We expect anything but a high-scoring game. We would not be surprised if the over/under limit of 46.5 points is not reached.

The Niners’ head coach in particular has a reputation for playing conservatively, often opting for a safe three points by kicker Robbie Gould on a fourth attempt in field goal range. That’s why we also believe that the visitors will score at least two field goals in the game.

Leave a Reply