Edge at QB should be the difference for the Eagles against San Francisco

by Marc Narducci | Jan 23, 2023
Edge at QB should be the difference for the Eagles against San Francisco
Let’s not overthink this too much. The Eagles, besides having home-field advantage in Sunday’s 3 p.m. NFC championship game against the San Francisco 49ers, also own the edge at the biggest position – quarterback.

Jalen Hurts is likely to finish second to Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes in the MVP race. Meanwhile, San Francisco is guided by rookie Brock Purdy, the final pick of the NFL draft.

Let’s just look at the last game the two played. Hurts was dynamic in the Eagles 38-7 rout of the New York Giants.

 He completed 16 of 24 passes for 154 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 112.2 passer rating. 

Hurts also rushed for 34 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. He didn’t appear to be hampered at all by a late-season shoulder injury that sidelined him for two games.

During Sunday’s 19-12 win over the Dallas Cowboys, Purdy completed 19 of 29 for 214 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. He had an 87.4 passer rating and rushed for eight yards on three carries.

Purdy has shown to be a competent game manager and against lesser competition even better than that. 

He had a big opening-round playoff performance in the 49ers’ 41-23 win over the Seattle Seahawks.

 Purdy completed 18 of 30 for 332 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 131.5 passer rating. He also rushed for 16 yards and a touchdown on four carries.

The 49ers haven’t lost since Purdy replaced the injured Jimmy Garoppolo as the starter. Counting the game he replaced Garoppolo against Miami, Purdy has gone 8-0 as a starter, including the two playoff victories.

Yet anybody watching him against a solid defense like Dallas saw that he struggled a bit. Purdy had great success throwing the ball in the middle of the field, especially to tight end George Kittle, who had five receptions for 95 yards.

Don’t you think that the Eagles after watching the film, will attempt to take the middle of the field away from Purdy? Will the rookie from Iowa State be able to adjust?

In addition, his two playoff games were home contests. Now he has to travel to Lincoln Financial Field, where the crowd was on its game against the Giants and will be at a fever pitch against San Francisco.

Can the 49ers win? Of course, they can. A formula would be to run the ball successfully and not put everything in Purdy’s hands. Yet the 49ers tried that against Dallas and ended up averaging just 3.5 yards per carry.

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No doubt the Eagles will have a game plan that makes Purdy beat them with his arm.

In addition, the Eagles had 70 regular season sacks and five more in the Giants game against a mobile Daniel Jones.

Despite having one of the best tackles in football in Trent Williams, who is a likely future Hall of Famer, the overall offensive line of San Francisco doesn’t come close to the Eagles’ o-line.

Purdy was only sacked twice against Dallas, but he was under pressure. The Eagles should put even more pressure on him.

This may not be a walk in the park for the Eagles the way it was against the Giants, but their edge at quarterback is even more significant against San Francisco.

Yes, the 49ers have a great defense, but during their 12-game winning streak (including the two playoff games) they haven’t faced such a formidable dual-threat quarterback as Hurts.

That is why the Eagles edge at the most important position should earn them the fourth Super Bowl appearance in franchise history.

 

Image courtesy of Philadelphia Eagles


Author: Marc Narducci

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