After opening up as 1.5-point home favorites against the San Francisco 49ers, the Philadelphia Eagles are now favored by 2.5 points in the NFC Championship Game. This much according to our friends over at DraftKings Sportsbook.
The original spread would’ve had the 49ers as 1.5-point favorites on a neutral field. Now the line has San Fran as 0.5-point favorites in that hypothetical situation.
Make no mistake, the Niners are a really good team. We outlined as much in our Divisional Round rooting guide, where we laid out the case to be rooting for the Dallas Cowboys to come to Lincoln Financial Field:
The 49ers are better than the Cowboys. Any kind of relevant objective metric indicates as much. San Fran leads the NFL in point differential (+48 above Dallas). They’re the No. 1 overall team by Pro Football Focus grading. They’re the top-ranked team in weighted DVOA. They’re fourth in offensive EPA per play and first in defensive EPA per play while Dallas ranks 10th and second, respectively. Some will argue facing Brock Purdy is preferable to facing Dak Prescott … but it’s not just about the quarterback in this case. Besides, the Eagles were very close to beating Dak with Gardner Minshew on Christmas Eve. The thinking here is that the Birds generally match up better with the Cowboys whereas the 49ers might have answers for Philly’s offense.
You can bet the 49ers are going to bring a fight to The Linc. They’re a tough, physical team that’s riding a 12-game winning streak. They haven’t lost since the Kansas City Chiefs beat them by 21 points on October 23.
That being said, shouldn’t the Eagles be getting a bit more respect? The way they just crushed the New York Giants was pretty impressive. The Birds will not have a significant talent gap working in their favor against the 49ers like they did versus the G-Men. But they will have a quarterback advantage and an intense home crowd working in their favor.
While the Eagles’ win over the Giants was a redux of their January 2018 win over the Minnesota Vikings, the feeling here is this 49ers matchup will more closely resemble Philly’s Divisional Round battle against the Atlanta Falcons. Things were tense in that game with the Eagles needing a goal-to-go stand to finish with the win, 15 to 10. It could very well be another low-scoring affair at The Linc.
Ultimately, I’m not so sure Jalen Hurts is one to bet against right now. This Eagles team as a whole has earned the benefit of the doubt. It won’t be easy… but I think they get it done and cover the spread.
What say you?