Eagles vs 49'ers: This one's easy (I think)
Sunday afternoon Brock Purdy and his 8-0 NFL record will travel to the City of Brotherly Love for the NFC Championship game and a chance to punch their ticket to Super Bowl LVI. The only thing in their way is their worst nightmare.
Wake up, Brock Purdy, it's time to find a new slipper. The glass one won't fit on Sunday.
Here's why I think it won't.
The 49'ers finished the regular season with an impressive 13-4 record. Only three teams finished with a better record. Great season.
Or was it?
These are the teams the 49'ers beat in the regular season:
Seahawks - twice
Rams - twice
Cardinals - twice
(tough division, huh?)
Is there an impressive win in that bunch?
Ok, perhaps the 33-17 win over Tua and the Dolphins in week-13.
Maybe even the 35-7 beating they gave the Buc's the following week.
Those two games were also Brock Purdy's first NFL action of his career.
Even the win at home vs the Chargers in week-10 could be considered a good win, but the Chargers were without both starting WR's Keenan Allen and Mike Williams.
Other than those three, there is nothing very impressive about their other 13 wins.
They even lost to the Bears, Broncos and Falcons.
The only wins the 9'ers had over playoff teams in the regular season were over the Buc's, Seahawks and Dolphins, and two of those teams finished 1-game over .500 and squeaked into the playoffs. The Buc's finished 8-9 but still got in.
Would San Francisco be looked at with so much post-season promise if it wasn't for QB Brock Purdy's improbable 8-0 record as a starter heading into this Championship game?
The 49'ers defense did finish #1 in the league, but when you consider the offenses they played in order to achieve that title it feels a lot less impressive.
The Eagles finished the regular season with 14 wins and three losses. They were the #2 ranked defense in the league. But their level of competition wasn't exactly a murderers row either.
Giants - twice
Big wins in that bunch? Well, the Cowboys, Vikings and Jaguars were playoff teams. Other than that there isn't much to hang their hats on.
And only six of their wins were by 2-scores or more.
Jalen Hurts was the Eagles QB for only one of those three losses - the 32-21 loss to the Commanders that ended their quest for an undefeated season in week-9.
The Eagles lost three fumbles and Hurts threw an interception and the Commanders capitalized on every mistake the Eagles made.
Gardner Minshew was the Eagles starting QB for the other two losses.
When Jalen Hurts is healthy the Eagles are a much more dangerous team. He has battled some lingering injuries but seems to be pretty healthy at this point.
He can make any defense look vulnerable when he's at full health.
The two teams are statistically very equal. It's tough to find one aspect on paper that puts one ahead of the other. They're both near the top at almost every defensive and offensive category. It seems as though this should be a close game.
Right now the Eagles, at home, are 2.5-point favorites. That difference can be equated to the home field advantage they have. The total points of around 46 seems to be quite accurate if ya ask me.
So why do I think Purdy's Cinderella season ends on Sunday? Well, I guess I'll just chalk it up to the unconventional weapon that Jalen Hurts is.
If the 49'ers defense looks to protect their secondary with their potent pass-rush it will have a tough time doing that against a very mobile Jalen Hurts.
If they are going to pin their ears back and pressure with their front-4 Hurts will hurt them with his legs. If they want to control his running lanes and give him more time to throw he will hurt them with his arm and his passing game weapons.
On the other hand, Brock Purdy will be right where the Eagles know they can find him. His is not the athlete Hurts is and isn't a very good scrambler. The Eagles led the league with 75 sacks and will be hounding Purdy all day with their 4-man pass-rush.
In the end I think that will be the difference.
Give me the Eagles by 10-points. 27-17