Don’t waste time with lengthy prefaces. It’s NFL Championship Sunday. In the NFC Championship, the #1 seed and NFC East champions, the Philadelphia Eagles will face the #2 seed and NFC West champions, the San Francisco 49ers.
These are the two best teams in the conference for much of the season and will vie for the right to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. .
date: Sunday, January 29 | time: 3:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
position: Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia)
tv set: Fox | Fox stream: fuboTV (Try it for free)
odds: Eagles -2.5, O/U 46 (Credit: Caesars Sportsbook)
Featured games | | Philadelphia Eagles vs. San Francisco 49ers
when the 49ers have the ball
How he handles Philadelphia’s pass rush could be the turning point in this game, so let’s start by talking about Brock Purdy.
Prior to last week’s game against the Cowboys, Purdy had dropped 177 passes since replacing Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 13. He completed 110 of his 161 passes (68.3%) and gained 1,308 yards (he had 8.12 yards per attempt). , with 13 touchdowns and just three interceptions. He was sacked his 11th time and faced pressure at almost exactly league-average percentages (32.8% vs. 32.6%). The Dallas rush was able to chase Purdy more regularly last week (48.5% pressure rate, according to Tru Media). Purdy said he was only sacked twice and not picked off (although he dropped his interception potential once), but his efficiency took a hit (7.38 yards per attempt).
During the regular season, the Cowboys were the best team in the league under pressure (43.3% of opponent dropbacks), while the Eagles were just behind in second (38.4%). Also, the Eagles were pretty good at converting pressure into sacks. His 11.2% of Philly pressure led to quarterback takedowns (first in the NFL) compared to his 8.9% of Dallas pressure (second). This difference could be very meaningful in this matchup.
The Eagles can throw more bodies on pass rushes than the Cowboys. Jonathan Gannon rotates Herson Reddick, Josh Sweat, Brandon Graham, and Robert Quinn on the edges and takes (mostly) Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave in the center. San Francisco has an elite left tackle in Trent Williams on the left side of the line, but Mike McGrinchee can be vulnerable on the right side, and guards Aaron Banks and Spencer Burford have a pass protection. Better for run blocking than
Of course, Kyle Shanahan is arguably the best offensive planner in the league right now and will definitely give Purdy an advantage. Shanahan has plenty of tools at his disposal to create wide throwing his lanes. According to NFL.com’s NFL.com’s Next Gen Stats, just 9.4% of Purdy’s passes have been thrown in his narrow window this season. This is his second lowest percentage in the NFL. These wide lanes often give the likes of Deebo Samuel, Brandon Ayuk, George Kittle and Christian McCaffrey plenty of room to run with the ball.
Shanahan moves Samuel and Ayuk around the formation to avoid being consistently exposed to either Darius Sorey or James Bradbury on the outside, but hopes of Eagles slot corner Avonte Maddox According to Tru Media, Philadelphia ranks 27th in percent success on throws to the slot when Maddox has been off the field this season, and Maddox has been on the field for 27th. It was the first time when I was in Bringing him back into the fold should make a big difference.
We know the San Francisco offense is designed to attack the middle of the field, and Shanahan, Purdy, and Co. will likely try to take advantage of Philadelphia’s linebackers. Opponents completed 59.7% of their passes for an average of 6.56 yards per attempt while throwing 6 touchdowns against 5 interceptions.The 49ers play action pass offense is It’s very different from the league-wide standard, but there’s reason to believe that Philly are better equipped to handle it than most of their opponents.
All of these factors make the Niners likely to try to win this battle in the run game. But if they could use at least one of Jordan Davis or Limbal Joseph, the Eagles would have excelled in that division. San Francisco’s rushing offense tests the team for both versatility and misdirection. It is no longer just out-of-zone to out-of-zone, out-of-zone to out-of-zone. The 49ers now run all sorts of plans and pass the ball to different players. , uses those intents against them.
Philadelphia’s defense isn’t quite as fast as the Dallas unit San Francisco faced last week (after all, few players are faster than Micah Parsons). They were less successful in the divisional rounds. The Niners use either McCaffrey, Samuel, or Elijah his Mitchell (if he plays) on those runs, each capable of hurting defenses in different ways.
when the eagles have the ball
The best thing about Philadelphia’s offense this season is that it has demonstrated an amazing ability to shape-shift to attack specific weaknesses in its opponents. Weak to run? The Eagles keep hitting the rocks all day as he rushed for over 250 yards in his two different games against the Giants and a whopping 363 yards against the Packers. Weak to pass? They were against the Titans where he made just 39 Jalen Harts passes against him 19 runs his back his rushing attempts and he made them with his 380 yards and he scored three. illuminates you through the air, like when you torch a
The 49ers defense is good at almost everything. The Niners finished the regular season second in rush defense DVOA and fifth against passes. They were first in the EPA per dropback and first in the EPA per rush attempt. They produced an above-average rate of pressure and sacks, and ranked third in the league in yards allowed before contact per rush and first in yards after contact. They rarely allowed explosive passes or runs, and were arguably the best tackle team in the NFL. There are some absolute freaks, such as Dre Greenlaw, who can ruin your opponent’s game plan.
So where are the attacking Eagles? To me, it’s deep in the field. The 49ers ranked him 1st against short passes in the DVOA, but 24th against deep passes. AJ Brown vs. DeVonta Smith and Charvarius Ward vs. Deommodore Lenoir are considered the most important on this side of the matchup. When throwing at least 20 yards downfield, Hurts were 22 of 55 for 823 yards, 11 touchdowns, and four interceptions during the regular season. With 231 yards and a touchdown this season, he only allowed two more complete games in 13 attempts than Lenore, who had seven complete games.
The problem with offense this way is that the 49ers design their defenses to take these throws out of their playbook. He is one of his five teams to have played both cover 2 and cover 4 snaps over 125 times during the regular season. They sometimes line up with their corners pressed against the line of scrimmage, but cover a deep quarter of the field. They don’t want the team to throw deep, and most of the time the team doesn’t throw deep. Only 9.8% of his opponents’ pass attempts moved at least 20 yards in the air, which is his 10th lowest percentage in the league. However, if there is an opening, your opponent can occasionally take advantage of it.
One of the biggest advances the Eagles have made offensively this year has been their ability to attack the middle of the field. Hearts rarely threw there last season, but with the addition of AJ Brown and the unlocking of Dallas Goudart, they worked there more often this season. But no one else has Warner and Green Low, so no one is better than the Niners when it comes to stealing the middle. In other words, the method of attack is outside. Again, that means going to Lenoir and (to a lesser extent) taking the pass down the field.
Perhaps their best matchup of the entire weekend is arguably the one that pits the NFL’s best offensive line against arguably the best defensive line. Mailata, Lane Johnson. Aric Armstead, Javon Kinroe, Kevin Givens and TY McGill take on Landon Dickerson, Jason Kelce and Isaac Semalo.Philadelphia give up tackle Shimauchi More often than any team in the NFL, that means Bosa has a chance to turn a corner and get to Hearts…if he can catch him, that is.