No rookie quarterback has ever reached the Super Bowl. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy is one win away from making history, and he’d do so as a seventh-round rookie most people paid no mind to on the final day of the draft. Still, despite the remarkable story, bettors seem to think history won’t be made this year. According to OddsChecker US, 62.3 percent of bets have been placed on Philadelphia to walk away with the victory in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game.
Why bet the Eagles?
On the surface, it seems like an easy decision to back Philadelphia. The Eagles are the favorites. They are at home, and this is just one week after Philly dominated the Giants 38-7, while San Francisco struggled to pull out a seven-point win over the Dallas Cowboys. Purdy, in particular, didn’t look too impressive in that game. Despite the Cowboys’ best edge-rusher Micah Parsons being held in check throughout most of the game, Purdy did make some questionable decisions. Bailed out by a dropped Trevon Diggs interception and other missteps by the Cowboys’ defense, Purdy looked vulnerable despite having never lost a game in his NFL career. Against a team as complete as the Eagles, those mistakes will come back to haunt the 49ers.
That said, the 49ers do have some advantages. They only have one win on the season as an underdog — Week 4 against the Los Angeles Rams — and that victory came against a team that would wind up being one of the worst in the league. Yes, they were healthy at the time; neither Cooper Kupp nor Matthew Stafford had succumbed to season-ending injury by that point. However, even when the team was at its best, they underwhelmed. However, this lone win as an underdog only came because the 49ers were a good team. They weren’t the underdog very often. Meanwhile, the Eagles have two losses on the season as favorites at home, against both the Commanders and Saints. Whereas San Fran has won 12 in a row, Philadelphia has lost two of its last four. However, I’m willing to overlook the Cowboys games due to Jalen Hurts’ injury.
Regardless, the Eagles have been beaten at home rather recently. They have looked mortal. The 49ers, despite not playing the same level of competition down the final stretch of the season, have not. Purdy hasn’t proven capable of leading an offense against a stellar pass rush. The Cowboys were supposed to put Purdy to the test in that regard last week, but they recorded absolutely zero hurries, only two quarterback knockdowns, and just two sacks — good for four total pressures throughout the game. The Eagles recorded the most sacks in the NFL (70) — 15 more than the next-best team, Kansas City (55). While some people don’t believe that number is representative of the strength of the Eagles’ pass rush as a whole…
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I’m not going to penalize Philadelphia for such great accomplishments throughout various games. In truth, I want the Eagles to pressure Purdy. I want them to continually bring the heat and force Purdy to make fast decisions and test the Eagles’ elite secondary. As a 49ers fan, I want to know what Purdy needs to improve upon for next year or if he’s already capable of handling such an incredible defense.
I like the Eagles in this matchup. Although the 49ers match up rather well, Philly’s offense is too scary to stand against. The Niners’ biggest loss of the season was Week 7 against the Kansas City Chiefs, 44-23. Any offense that can actually consistently put up points against the 49ers’ defense should have an easy time keeping San Fran at bay, and the Eagles have one of the best offenses in the NFL. This game could come down to how well 49ers’ head coach Kyle Shanahan and defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans prepare for this game. We’ve seen elite offenses get taken down a peg in these playoffs already when Cincinnati embarrassed Buffalo in the Divisional Round. I’m not putting a dominant win out by the 49ers of the question, but if a blowout win were to happen, I’d assume it came from Philadelphia.