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Old School Battle in the Trenches in Philly
For our one pick this week, we’re going to focus on the NFC Championship game. There are lots of talented skill position players on each offense. However, like most smart teams, the Eagles and 49ers butter their bread in the trenches. There are loads of pro bowlers on the offensive and defensive lines for each team. The performances of each team in the divisional round are indicators of strong line play. The Eagles rushed for 268 yards in their blowout win over the Giants and registered five sacks on defense. Conversely, while the offensive numbers weren’t as eye-opening for the 49ers, San Francisco held Dallas to just 76 rushing yards last week. Much has been made about the challenges Brock Purdy is going to face traveling across the country into hostile Lincoln Financial Field after playing most of his games in the regular season and postseason at home in controlled environments. Additionally, the news hasn’t been great early in the practice week for 49er running backs Christian McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell as well as swiss-army knife Deebo Samuel. I’d be surprised if any of these players were held out on Sunday, but if any of them are limited it could impact San Francisco’s ability to hit on some big plays. The Eagles are the healthier team and at home. However, I don’t think I would run to the window with Philly -2.5 despite that. I have too much respect for the 49ers to discredit them here. After all, just look at how they won last week against the Cowboys. It was far from an offensive masterpiece, but their defense was outstanding yet again and they pulled out a 19-12 win. It’s probably going to have to be a similar game script for the 49ers to be successful this week. I’m less confident in their ability to win that kind of a game against the Eagles, but confident enough at the same time to steer clear of the side and bet the total instead. I expect Kyle Shanahan to attempt to slow the game down for Purdy and allow him to get his feet wet at the Linc and I don’t think the Eagles will have as much success running the football against San Francisco as they did against New York last week. I’ll go under 46.5 in the first game on Sunday.
By Greg Frank
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