Eagles vs 49ers Odds, Pick, Prediction | NFC Championship Game

Eagles vs 49ers Odds, Pick, Prediction | NFC Championship Game article feature image
  • Eagles vs. 49ers odds have Philadelphia favored in the NFC Championship Game.
  • Philadelphia has only lost once this season when Jalen Hurts has started under center.
  • Chris Raybon previews the game and makes his 49ers vs. Eagles pick below.

We open Sunday by making a Eagles vs. 49ers pick, as the two juggernauts face off in the NFC Championship Game at Lincoln Financial Stadium for a spot in Super Bowl LVII.

San Francisco is facing the one of the few teams it would be an underdog against, and the Eagles vs. 49ers odds have Philadelphia favored by 2.5 points, as of Saturday night.

The Eagles are 15-1 straight-up (SU) and 11-9 against the spread (ATS) in games started by Jalen Hurts and looked dominant in a 38-7 win against the Giants in the Divisional Round.

The 49ers finished the regular season with the best point differential in the league (+173) and have won 12 games in a row, including seven straight with Mr. Irrelevant, Brock Purdy, at quarterback. They are 15-4 SU and 13-6 ATS overall, including 6-1 ATS with Purdy.

Eagles vs 49ers Odds

Sunday, Jan. 29
3 p.m. ET
Eagles Odds
-108o / -112u
49ers Odds
-108o / -112u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.
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Eagles vs. 49ers Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the Eagles and 49ers match up statistically:

Eagles vs. 49ers DVOA (Regular season + Playoffs) Breakdown
Overall DVOA45
Pass DVOA21
Rush DVOA1321
Overall DVOA51
Pass DVOA74
Rush DVOA12
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Eagles Offense vs. 49ers Defense

The sample size on Jalen Hurts is twice as large as Brock Purdy's, yet the current state of the Eagles offense is arguably more difficult to gauge due to a combination of factors that include injury, opponent strength and trends.

Three of Hurts' last four games were against the Giants, who ranked 30th in defensive DVOA. The fourth was against the Bears, who literally had the league's worst defense this season, ranking 32nd in overall DVOA, against the pass and against the run.

Hurts hasn't faced a non-bottom-three defense since Week 13, and that was a Titans defense that was 19th overall, but 28th against the pass. Despite facing a bottom-three defense four times and another bottom-five pass defense over his last eight games, Hurts' passing numbers trended down:

  • First eight games: 68.2% completion rate, 8.5 yards per attempt, 0.7% INT rate
  • Last eight games: 64.9% completion rate, 7.4 yards per attempt, 1.6% INT rate

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Hurts saw no such downturn as a rusher over the second half — until getting hurt. He averaged 11.4 carries for 52.9 yards over his first 14 games, but just 9.0 carries for 26.5 yards in two games since returning from injury.

His nine carries for 34 yards in the Divisional Round was an improvement on Week 18 (nine carries for 17 yards), but still well below his normal output. The 49ers allow a league-low 3.29 yards per carry to opposing halfbacks, so Hurts' contributions on the ground will be key to keep Philly's offense on schedule.

The 49ers represent the fourth top-10 defense Hurts has faced, and the first since Week 10. Even these games have to be taken with a grain of salt as they all came against division opponents, but there is evidence to suggest the Eagles offense won't be superhuman against San Francisco:

  • Eagles offense with Hurts vs. top-10 defenses: 23.7 points, 310.7 total yards, 5.1 yards per play
  • Eagles offense with Hurts vs. non-top-10 defenses: 30.8 points, 411.0 total yards, 6.0 yards per play

Schematically, the 49ers play zone at a top-five rate and are likely to continue to do so, as the Eagles average nearly two full yards fewer per targeted pass against zone (8.0) than man (9.8) in Hurts' starts.

Specifically, we are likely to see DeMeco Ryans continue to dial up a heavy dose of Cover 3, which the 49ers play at the seventh-highest rate. Cover 3 is the only type of coverage that Hurts has produced negative expected points added per play against this season.

QB efficient vs each coverage through Divisional weekend. Jalen Hurts being pretty bad vs cover 3 and facing the 49ers (play cover 3 on 35% of plays, 7th highest rate) is something worth looking out for on Sunday. pic.twitter.com/xfoQINYiY4

— Arjun Menon (@arjunmenon100) January 25, 2023

Hurts' relative struggles against Cover 3 make sense, as this allows defenses to get an extra man in the box to help against the run while forcing him to read the coverage and win over the top.

Per PFF, Hurts' adjusted completion rate of 39.7% on passes 20-plus yards downfield ranks 23rd of 36 qualified quarterbacks. This appears to be one of the ways defenses adjusted over the second half of the season against Hurts, as he increased his aDOT from 7.6 over his first eight games to 9.3 over his last eight, but with a drop in efficiency from 8.5 yards per attempt to 7.4.

We may see the Eagles counter with more 12 personnel. Per Sports Info Solutions, the 49ers allow 0.05 EPA/play more out of base defense. Specifically against 12 personnel, they've allowed a 65% completion rate, 9.0 yards per attempt, six touchdowns and one interception through the air.

We saw a lot of 12 personnel from the Eagles last week, with No.  2 tight end Jack Stoll tying a season high with 37 snaps and a 53% snap rate (excluding games Dallas Goedert missed). Staying in this personnel will likely also come with a steady dose of play-action passes, which the 49ers defense has shown cracks against, allowing +0.07 EPA/play compared to -0.17 on non-play-action passes.

The question is how much more effective can play action make the Eagles pass offense than it already is? According to Pro Football Focus, Hurts finished 31st of 41 quarterbacks with just 0.3 yards per attempt more using play action  (7.9) than non-play-action passes (7.6) during the regular season.

49ers Offense vs. Eagles Defense

The Eagles will represent the second top-five defense Brock Purdy has faced this season, and the second one in as many weeks.

Prior to facing a Cowboys defense that ranked second in DVOA and sixth against the pass, Purdy had not gone up against a defense that ranks higher than 10th overall or 13th versus the pass. Against superior defenses, Purdy led the 49ers to 19 points and 312 total yards — a far cry from 34.8 points and 404.3 yards across his first six starts.

Purdy was pressured on 48.5% of his dropbacks last week and now faces an Eagles defense that led the league in pressure rate. He completed just 4-of-12 passes for 55 yards under pressure versus the Cowboys. On the season, he is averaging a 46.9% completion rate and 6.6 yards per attempt when pressured compared to a 73.3% completion rate and 9.1 YPA from a clean pocket.

One thing Purdy has done well under pressure is protect the ball. He has just one interception and two turnover-worthy plays on 65 attempts when pressured. Whether clean or pressured, his decision making has been trending up of late, as he has no turnover-worthy throws over his last three games (79 attempts).

The 49ers average 31.0 designed runs and 29.4 designed passes in Purdy's starts, so we should expect a run-heavy game plan from head coach Kyle Shanahan.

This is especially true since Purdy has posted a negative EPA/play versus Cover 4 (-0.059), which is a staple of Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. Purdy's worst marks have come against Cover 2 Man, however, so I think the Eagles will increase their use of man coverage. This will allow Darius Slay and James Bradberry to affect more throws, as San Francisco likes to throw over the middle of the field.

Purdy is lucky to have Shanahan scheming plays. Shanahan's offense leads the league in pre-snap motion, which could play a major factor here, as the Eagles pass defense is first in EPA/play versus no pre-snap motion but 22nd when pre-snap motion is involved.

Exploiting the Eagles on the ground isn't as easy as it was early in the season. They have improved since adding run-stuffers in Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh after Week 10.

  • Weeks 1-10: 5.5% rush DVOA (28th), 43.8% early down rush success rate (29th)
  • Week 11-present: -11.4% rush DVOA (15th), 35.6% early down rush success rate (ninth)

San Francisco's rush offense ranks 13th in DVOA on the season, but fourth since they acquired Christian McCaffrey in Week 7. The ground game is still an advantage for the 49ers, but not by nearly as much as if they'd caught the Eagles prior to Week 11.

The Hussey Factor

John Hussey, the head referee for this game, is known for letting 'em play.

According to NFLPenalties.com, Hussey has called 9.13 penalties per game this season, which is the second fewest and over two full penalties below the league average (11.14).

While Hussey calls fewer penalties on both sides of the ball, it's the defenses that tend to benefit more. As compared to the league average, Hussey has called 51% less defensive holds and 16% less defensive pass interferences. He has also called roughing the passer just once all season, which is 82% below league average.

John Hussey will ref the NFC Championship Game between the 49ers and Eagles (O/U 46.5)…

Since 2015, a $100 bettor would be up $1,138 betting Unders with Hussey 🤑 pic.twitter.com/cjb2MPPudg

— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) January 27, 2023

Betting Picks

If we could be certain we were getting the best version of Hurts as a runner and a passer, the Eagles would be the play inside the key number of three. And if we could be certain that won't be the case, the 49ers would be the play.

As it stands, the truth is likely somewhere in the middle, making this game a toss-up with a slight edge to the Eagles, but not enough to bet either side (unless it gets to +3, in which case I'd lean 49ers).

What we can more reliably expect is this game to feature a lot of runs, a lot of heavy personnel, a lot of defensive pressure, two defenses capable of holding the opposing offense below its usual efficiency and fewer defensive penalties than usual — all of which point to the under.

Per our Action Labs data, the under is 56-39-1 (59%) in games Hussey has refereed outdoors, including an 8-3 (73%) mark this season.

Update: I also bet 49ers -3 on Sunday morning with the total no longer listed in my desired range at 45.5.

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