San Francisco 49ers @ Philadelphia Eagles Playoff Tip
Mr. Irrelevant faces the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday. Will the Eagles put the cherry on top of their great season so far, or will they be in for a rude awakening?
The Cinderella story about Brock Purdy has probably not passed any NFL fan by. And it’s still hard to believe. The final pick of the NFL draft leads the 49ers onto the field this weekend as they look to make it to the Super Bowl. For all the exuberance over Purdy’s performance, though, if you evaluate the last game against the Cowboys, you’d have to describe him more as a caretaker in that game. A 65.5% completion rate, no touchdown passes and “only” around 200 yards. Purdy kept the 49ers in the match, but that’s about it. In comparison, Jalen Hurts, as so often this season, played up to his potential and experience against the weak Giants.
If you look at the two offenses away from the QBs, though, the 49ers have a bit of the edge. In the running game, the Eagles do have Miles Sanders, but after that it gets thin in terms of quality. In the receiving game, though, Devonta Smith and A.J. Brown are an absolute blast. But San Francisco doesn’t have to hide either: Christian McCaffrey, Elijah Mitchell, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk are probably the most complete offense in the league. Not to mention, of course, tight end George Kittle, whose physical dominance also makes him a hugely important building block for the Shanahan offense.
While Philadelphia tends to go for quantity in the pass rush, San Francisco has the league’s best pass rusher in Nick Bosa in its own ranks. Still, both quarterbacks have to be careful here, we will definitely see one or the other sack or QB hit on Sunday. But the team from the Golden Gate Bridge will clearly win the duel on the ground: Miles Sanders will have an extremely difficult time, because the 49ers’ run defense is incredibly dominant. They are allowing an average of just 3.4 yards per attempt, which means the Eagles will have to do a lot more in the air. San Francisco cornerback Charvarius Ward will have to play his best football to stop this duo of receivers.
As expected in a championship game, we will see two teams on equal footing. In the end, small things will decide who gets to keep living the dream of the title. But if we weigh all the points mentioned above, we see San Francisco, who already narrowly failed to beat the Rams in 2022, ahead in this match-up.