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 according to our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.
The original spread would have 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 for rooting for the Dallas Cowboys to get to Lincoln Financial Field:
The 49ers are better than the Cowboys. Any kind of relevant objective measure indicates so much. San Fran leads the NFL in points difference (+48 over Dallas). They are the No. 1 overall team by the Pro Football Focus ranking. They are the top ranked team in weighted DVOA. They rank fourth in offensive EPA per game and first in defensive EPA per game, while Dallas ranks tenth and second, respectively. Some might argue that a showdown with Brock Purdy is preferable to a showdown with Dak Prescott…but it’s not all 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 are generally a better fit for the Cowboys, while the 49ers may have answers to Philly’s offense.
You can bet the 49ers are going to bring a fight to The Linc. They are a strong, physical team that goes on a 12 game winning streak. They haven’t lost since the Kansas City Chiefs defeated them by 21 points on October 23.
That said, shouldn’t the Eagles get a little more respect? The way they just crushed the New York Giants was pretty impressive. The Birds won’t have a huge talent gap that works in their favor against the 49ers like they did against the G-Men. But they will have a quarterback advantage and an intense home crowd that works in their favor.
While the Eagles’ victory over the Giants doubled their win over the Minnesota Vikings in January 2018, the feeling here is that this 49ers matchup will more closely resemble Philly’s Divisional Round battle against the Atlanta Falcons. It was tight in that game and the Eagles needed a goal-to-go score to finish with the win, 15 to 10. It could very well be another low-scoring affair at The Linc.
In the end, I’m not so sure Jalen Hurts is someone 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’ll pull it off and cover the spread.
What do you say?