NFC Championship Game Picks: Expert Bets for 49ers vs Eagles
Photo by Christopher Mast/Getty Images. Pictured: Brock Purdy.
49ers vs Eagles Picks
As I mentioned last week, Watkins is used drastically less when Dallas Goedert is healthy.
- Without Goedert: 4.8 targets, 3.6 receptions, 25.6 receiving yards
- With Goedert: 1.9 targets, 1.2 receptions, 16.3 receiving yards
Watkins’ 16.3 receiving yards per game with Goedert active overstate his true probability of racking up yardage, as his median in those games is zero receiving yards. He posted 14 or fewer receiving yards in eight of his 13 games (62%) with Goedert active.
Watkins was targeted on 19.2% of routes in the five games Goedert missed — that figure dips to 8.8% in the games Goedert played. Watkins also ran a route on a season-low 27% of dropbacks last week despite A.J. Brown being banged up. He ceded snaps to Zach Pascal, who ran a route 38% of the time. Watkins’ overall snap counts have been dropping the past four games — 72% to 51% to 42% to 31%.
Watkins may not even be a top-five option for Jalen Hurts against a 49ers defense that ranks fourth in DVOA against the pass and allows the fifth-fewest schedule-adjusted targets per game to non-top-two wide receivers (4.6).
Last week, San Francisco held Michael Gallup, Noah Brown and T.Y. Hilton at least 10 yards below their respective season averages.
Note: I was able to bet this at under 19.5 yards (-122) earlier in the week, but I’d still play this down to 13.5.
Pick: Quez Watkins Under 15.5 Receiving Yards | Play to 13.5
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Purdy faces a tough Eagles defense that finished the regular season fifth in interception rate (3.06%). But even after adjusting for that, I project Purdy to not throw an interception 47.5% of the time.
His interception rate (1.75%) is excellent, and he looks to be trending upward in terms of ball security, as he hasn’t committed a turnover-worthy throw over his past three games (79 attempts).
The Eagles’ ability to generate pressure also doesn’t raise his interception odds as much as it would for most quarterbacks. Three of his four interceptions — and five of his seven turnover-worthy throws on the season — have come from a clean pocket.
Purdy also has volume working on his side, as he averages just 26.1 pass attempts per start.
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