We are two days away from the battle between the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers for the NFC Championship and a trip to the Super Bowl.
For months analysts and fans had pegged both the Niners and Birds as the two most likely teams to meet in the conference title games due to the sheer dominance they have displayed all year. Now, the analysts and fans get their wish.
San Francisco comes into this matchup winners of 12 games in a row, tied for the longest streak in franchise history, and are in their third conference title game in four years. A level of consistency like that can only be matched by the type of historical seasons like the one that the Eagles is currently on.
Both teams are evenly matched and their strengths come from both sides of the ball. So who has the edge? Whose season will continue and who will go home disappointed?
We have everything you need to know about Sunday’s opponent here.
San Francisco 49ers (14-4)
Last Game: 19-12 Win over Dallas Cowboys
Offensive Ranking: 5th
Defensive Ranking: 1st
Head-to-Head Matchup: San Fran leads the all-time series 20-14-1
San Francisco 49ers Coaching Staff
Head Coach: Mike Shanahan
Offensive Coordinators: Bobby Slowik, Chris Foerster
Defensive Coordinator: DeMeco Ryans
Special Teams Coordinator: Brian Schneider
The 49ers’ run to the conference title begins and ends with Brock Purdy. The rookie quarterback has shrugged his seventh-round stature and is 7-0 as San Fran’s starting quarterback. Purdy plays mistake-free football and it allows a loaded offense to get their players in space. Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk highlight a group of skill players that are the best in football and are the best at breaking tackles. The Eagles early season struggles with tackling will be tested on Sunday. This offense is loaded, but with any rookie quarterback, applying pressure will be a major key to winning the game.
As good as San Francisco’s offense is, their defense is the reason they are in this game in the first place. Nick Bosa is expected to win the Defensive Player of the Year award in a couple of weeks, Fred Warner plays like the best linebacker in football, and Talanoa Hufanga plays like a modern-day Troy Polamalu. DeMeco Ryans, San Fran’s defensive coordinator, is one of the top assistants in the game and can make life difficult for any top quarterback. Jalen Hurts will need to win this game with his arm and decision-making. If he can’t, the Eagles will be going home disappointed.
X-Factor: Christian McCaffrey
McCaffrey is the change of pace player that can alter a game. Philadelphia has done a great job on runningbacks over the last few months, but McCaffrey is used in a bevy of ways that it is difficult to contain him. Adding to that, Deebo Samuel is just as good with the ball in his hands as well. The Eagles will need to take one of them out of the game if they hope to win. It’s a tall order too.
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AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn