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A trip to Super Bowl LVII is on the line when the Eagles (-2.5) host the 49ers in a matchup between the NFC’s top two seeds on Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field (3:00 p.m. ET, FOX). Philadelphia’s in search of its first Super Bowl appearance since claiming Super Bowl LII in 2018, while San Francisco is itching to get back to the big game for the first time since suffering a heartbreaking loss in Super Bowl LIV.
The Eagles got back to their dominant ways in the divisional round, breezing to a 38-7 win over the Giants. Philadelphia dominated on both sides of the ball, holding the Giants to 227 total yards of offense on 4.4 yards per play while racking up 416 total yards on offense on 6.0 yards per play. The Eagles scored a touchdown on four of their first five offensive possessions, seizing control from the get-go. Continuing that type of efficiency against a 49ers’ defense that leads the league in EPA/play (-0.112) won’t be easy, as San Francisco will be the Eagles’ toughest test of the season.
San Francisco reached the NFC championship game for a second consecutive season after narrowly defeating the Cowboys 19-12. In the win, the 49ers’ defense did what it does best, making life tough on QBs. Dak Prescott was held to just 206 passing yards and tossed two key interceptions that changed the trajectory of the game. As has been the case through his first seven career starts, Brock Purdy played mistake-free football and thrived on third down. Purdy also led the 49ers on a go-ahead, 91-yard TD drive at the start of the fourth quarter that was the difference in the game.
CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND BETTING: Odds, spreads
Which NFC juggernaut will persevere over 60 minutes and keep their Super Bowl hopes alive? Below, we’ll give you all the information you need before placing a wager on Eagles-49ers, including the updated odds from BetMGM, tips, and our prediction for the NFC Championship Game.
Eagles vs. 49ers odds for NFC championship game
- Spread: Eagles -2.5 (-120); 49ers +2.5 (+100)
- Over/Under: 45.5
- Moneyline: Eagles -155; 49ers +130
Philadelphia opened at -2 and has since been bet up to a juiced -2.5. The Eagles could get to -3 but expect some buyback on the 49ers if that happens, likely shifting the line back to -2.5. It’s been a while since the 49ers were priced as underdogs, closing as a one-point road ‘dog back in Week 8 against the Rams, a game in which the 49ers won 31-14. The total has also seen some movement since opening at 47, dropping down to 45.5 and then ticking back up to 46.5.
Eagles vs. 49ers all-time series
The 49ers lead the all-time series over the Eagles 20-14-1. San Francisco claimed the most recent meeting between the two back in Week 2 of last season, securing a 17-11 road win. Despite outgaining the 49ers 328 to 306, the Eagles turned the ball over on downs in the red zone, negating a potential TD drive that would have altered the outcome. Sunday marks just the second time these franchises will meet in the playoffs, with their lone matchup coming back in the 1996 wild-card round, a 14-0 win for the 49ers.
Three trends to know
— Despite cruising to a 31-point victory last week, the Eagles are just 1-4 ATS over their past five games.
— Sunday’s divisional bout went well UNDER the closing total, but the OVER easily hit in the 49ers’ four previous games.
— According to BetQL, “the 49ers are 10-2 ATS during their current winning streak.”
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Three things to watch for
Jalen Hurts as a passer
While the 49ers’ defense is one of the most efficient units against both the run and the pass, it is more vulnerable through the air (43.7-percent drop-back success rate) than on the ground (33.5-percent rushing success rate). Hurts needs to stress the 49ers’ defense with his arm, and he can post a solid success rate as a passer.
Hurts had success against the 49ers’ defense in last season’s meeting and was very aggressive as a downfield passer, as seven of his 23 pass attempts traveled at least 20 yards. Hurts ended the game with a high aDOT of 14.6 yards (99th percentile among QBs), and the Eagles posted a 52-percent drop-back success rate (71st percentile). Yes, a lot has changed from then to now, but Hurts’ willingness to take deep shots against the 49ers could result in an explosive play or two on Sunday.
Christian McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell’s effectiveness
Conversely, the 49ers’ offense should look to stress the Eagles’ defense on the ground rather than through the air. Philadelphia sports the lowest drop-back EPA (-0.087) compared to the 23rd-lowest run EPA (-0.023). While both players are currently listed as day-to-day, expect a heavy dosage of McCaffrey (calf) and Mitchell (groin) on early downs to give Brock Purdy more manageable third-down distances. Since Week 9, the 49ers’ offense has complied the second-highest rush EPA (0.024) trailing only the Eagles, and against an exploitable Eagles’ run defense, McCaffrey and Mitchell could be tough to defend over four quarters. (Update: Mitchell (groin) has been ruled “out”).
Which defensive line generates more QB pressures?
As is the case in most projected one-score games, whichever team can give their QB more clean pockets has a good chance of winning the game. We’ll see which offensive line can better hold up in pass protection, as neither QB will have success if he’s consistently under duress. Both defenses blitz at a similar rate, and Philadelphia’s defense has complied the second-highest pressure rate this season (25.5 percent). The 49ers have generated QB pressures on 22.9 percent of drop-backs (11th in NFL). Will the Eagles’ pass rush continue to be the better of the two units on Sunday?
Stat that matters
5. Brock Purdy is just the fifth QB in NFL history to make it to a conference championship game in his rookie season, the first since Mark Sanchez took the Jets to the AFC title game in ’09. Collectively, those rookie QBs (Shaun King, Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, and Mark Sanchez) have an 0-4 record.
Eagles vs. 49ers prediction
It’s not going to take many points for either offense to notch a trip to Super Bowl LVII in this battle of the NFC’s two most complete squads. While Purdy’s done exactly what the 49ers have asked him to do, the difference in this one could be an explosive pass play, and Hurts’ willingness to take shots gives the Eagles the upper hand in that category. San Francisco’s likely going to have to manufacture long, multi-play drives, as the Eagles do just enough to grind out a three-point home victory.
PREDICTION: Eagles 23, 49ers 20. Philadelphia (-2.5) advances to Super Bowl LVII, covering the spread with the game going UNDER the total (45.5).