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Heading into the playoffs, it was hard to imagine another scenario, but here we are—the Philadelphia Eagles are hosting the San Francisco 49ers.
The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the NFC, both of these teams looked poised beyond their playoff competition.
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While the Eagles have been the team to beat this season, there’s no denying the hot streak the 49ers are on, even with their third-string quarterback.
The most exciting part of this game is how these teams are constructed—two potent defenses and offenses predicated on running the ball.
The Eagles have four guys with double-digit sack totals this season, but the 49ers have a solid offensive line, headlined by the best left tackle in the game, Trent Williams.
The 49ers have a running game with Christian McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell that should be able to take advantage of an Eagles defense allowing over 125 rushing yards over their last three games.
Meanwhile, the Eagles offense will face a 49ers defense that not only has a great pass rush with Nick Bosa but a linebacker group of Dre Greenlaw, Fred Warner, and Azeez Al-Shaair, and even safety Talanoa Hufanga who will be able to snuff out the rushing threat of Hurts and spy him.
This should be a lower-scoring game if Purdy can continue to play cleanly and efficiently. The 49ers edge it out due to their weapons and flexibility in the running game.
We’ve seen 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan avoid passing the ball almost altogether in the playoffs when quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo threw just eight passes against the Green Bay Packers a few years ago.
While that’s a small sample and, again, a few years ago, this is a game where we could see that return. The Eagles have a formidable pass rush and solid cornerbacks in Darius Slay, James Bradberry, and Avonte Maddox, so Purdy throwing the ball could be ill-advised.
Thankfully, the 49ers have a running game of Mitchell and McCaffrey, but we’re focused on McCaffrey here because of his two-way ability to not only run the ball well but to catch the ball out of the backfield as somewhat of an extension of the running game.
Against the Dallas Cowboys last week—another tough defense—McCaffrey saw eight targets and caught six of them. Running the ball, he had just 10 carries for 35 yards but found the end zone. It’s always good value to bet on a player that’ll see around 20 touches in multiple ways to score a touchdown, and we’ll bet on McCaffrey here.
The acquisition of Brown for the Eagles has had an immediate impact, catching 91 passes on 142 targets for 1,518 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, including in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
Brown caught just three passes for 22 yards in the Divisional Round but has a solid matchup this week across from 49ers cornerback Deommodore Lenoir.
Brown will also see some of Charvarius Ward, but Lenoir is allowing 68.7% of targets thrown his way to be caught, and he gave up 69 yards on seven targets last week.
He’s only allowed one touchdown, but he’ll get targeted enough here, especially considering the 49ers ability to contain Hurts and the running game.
Look for Brown to rebound here and continue to rack up yardage with his 16.7 yards per reception rate.
After graduating from the University of New Hampshire with a BA in Journalism, Richard Janvrin has been covering iGaming and sports betting since December 2018. Richard has covered betting at Bleacher Report, Gambling.com, The Game Day, Forbes, and more.More info on Richard Janvrin
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