NFC Championship Game

These teams are images of each other in many ways, but some differences swayed me to take action. They are both known for having stellar defenses and the best defenses in the NFL. The quandary is that PHI has been the better team over the season, yet SF has been the better team since acquiring McCaffery. Football Outsiders weighted DVOA (where only recency matters) has SF at 43.9% DVOA and PHI at 26.3%. The gap is substantial.

I thought an underlying issue was going to be that PHI played the 32nd SOS (strength of schedule), which is neutralized by SF having played the 31st. It tells me the data is even between the two. Of the remaining playoff teams, PHI is #1 in EPA on defense in the 1st half, whereas SF is #3. PHI is known to start very fast (#1 in NFL) by scoring an average of 18 points in the 1st half. They are now facing a tough defense but not an impossible one. PHI should have opportunities, as SF does have trouble with QBs who run the football. In 2021, Hurts ran 10 times for 80+ yards, and this season both Marcus Mariotta and Jared Stidham found success. All that said, SF did not allow a single rusher to have over 70 yards rushing this season (PHI had 14 games where that happened). SF will not get gashed here, but Hurts might be why the offense opens up for that passing game. SF is susceptible to play action and deep shots. They rank 24th against those deep passes. PHI will not go up and down the field but can have success.

This is where the rubber hits the road. There has NEVER been a rookie QB starting a Super Bowl game! SF has a rookie QB in Brock Purdy. Yes, he had game managed them to this point, and the defense has held the line. However, I believe PHI is on another type of level. Brock has played 2 away games, one in SEA and one in LV. PHI has the better DL and OL, plus a better ST. This matters because PHI, who had 70+ sacks, will not just pressure Purdy as DAL did; they will put him to the turf. PHI gets pressure from all their pass rushers, whereas SF gets it from Bosa. Purdy was 3-10 for 24 yards vs. DAL under pressure. He was 16-19 for 190 yards when not under pressure. He will see pressure this week! I expect a lesser performance from him. HC Kyle Shannahan will scheme to offset the defense and has many skill players to do, but I think this defense is too much. SF ran the ball 21 out of 30 plays in the 2nd half vs. DAL last week. They were in a game situation that allowed that. What happens if they are behind? I believe PHi will get the early lead, and SF will have to ask too much from the rookie QB.

I played PHI first half -1, PHI full game -2.5, SF Purdy Over 0.5 INT

Published by webbie20

I am an experienced sports gambler who allows access to my strategies, analysis, and data. Some of what I do is FREE for all, yet others will pay a small amount to access everything. I utilize the website ( and a Telegram page to provide my thoughts, data, and picks.

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