49ers vs Eagles NFL Preview & Free Pick [January 29th 2023]

San Francisco (15-4) at Philadelphia (15-3)
When: Sunday, January 29th 2023
Where: Lincoln Financial Field,
Philadelphia, PA
Time: 3:00 ET | TV: FOX
Opening Odds: Philadelphia -3.5/45.5

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The conference championship games are set and first up is a great matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles from Lincoln Financial Field at 3:00 ET this Sunday. The 49ers are no strangers to conference title games. This will be their 18th trip – the most in the NFL. They are 7-10 in the previous 17, including a 20-17 loss at the Los Angeles Rams last year. It’s the eighth trip for the Eagles, who are 3-4 in the previous seven.

Philly was last here following the 2017 season and beat Minnesota on the way to winning their first Super Bowl title. These teams have met once before in the postseason following the 1995 season. San Francisco won 14-0 in the wild card round. The favorite is 7-3 ATS in the past 10 overall meetings.

The 49ers offense exploded in the wild card round this year, beating the Seattle Seahawks 41-23, then used defense to smother the Dallas Cowboys 19-12 last week in the Divisional Round. San Fran is riding the hot arm of Brock Purdy, who is now unbeaten in seven career starts. Injuries to Trey Lance (ankle) and Jimmy Garoppolo (foot) created the opportunity for the former Mr. Irrelevant.

Purdy will now face the best defensive unit he’s seen so far. The Eagles ranked second in total defense (301.5 yards per game) in the regular season and have 75 sacks, third most in NFL history. Linebacker Haason Reddick (16 sacks), defensive ends Brandon Graham (11) and Josh Sweat (11) and defensive tackle Javon Hargrave (11) all recorded career highs for sacks.

The Eagles were the No. 1 seed in the NFC and received a bye in the wild card round. They showed no rust in dispatching the New York Giants last week 38-7. Philadelphia has been 2.5-point favorites all week, but the line is now trending to -3. As of Friday evening, the Eagles are -2.5 (-120) at Bovada Sportsbook with a total of 46.5.

Purdy improved to 7-0 in his career as a starter, but wasn’t at his best last week against a very good Cowboys defense, as the Niners managed just one touchdown. That came from Christian McCaffrey – his eighth straight game with at least one. Purdy didn’t turn the ball over in going 19-of-29 for 214 yards, while San Francisco’s defense picked off Dak Prescott twice and converted each into a field goal. The 49ers have now won 12 in a row dating back to the regular season – their longest streak since 1984.

The 49ers finished the regular season sixth with 19.5 points allowed per game and No. 1 with only 297.3 total yards given up. Defensive end Nick Bosa (NFL-high 18.5 sacks) is a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year honors. The 49ers are 5-0 against the spread in their last five games in the NFL playoffs.

There were some concerns about Jalen Hurts’ shoulder injury entering last week’s playoff game, but he put that to rest. Hurts threw for 154 yards and two scores and rushed for 54 yards and another TD. Philadelphia rumbled for 268 yards on the ground against the Giants, but the Niners present a more formidable challenge. San Francisco allowed only 77.7 ypg on the ground in the regular season. With AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith being dangerous weapons on the outside, the Eagles managed to finish the regular season sixth in the NFL with 236.3 passing yards per game.

Kenneth Gainwell led Philly last week with 112 rushing yards and a touchdown on 12 carries, while Miles Sanders had 90 rushing yards on 17 carries. The defense sacked Daniel Jones five times and intercepted him once. Philadelphia was the NFL’s best against the pass and in sacking the QB, and held New York to 109 yards passing. The Eagles are 6-2 against the spread in their last eight games in the postseason.

Philadelphia’s rushing attack and defense will win this game. Purdy has been excellent, but struggled a bit moving the ball last week. The Eagles’ defense is the best at getting to the quarterback and this could be a long afternoon for Purdy. I’ll take the home team here.

Championship Round Staff Selections

Pick: Eagles -2.5