Eagles vs. 49ers: 7 storylines to watch in the NFC Championship Game
The Eagles (14-3) and 49ers (13-4) and on a collision course and have been for the better part of ten weeks after San Francisco started their winning streak.
The two teams last met in Week 2 of the 2021 regular season, with San Francisco defeating Philadelphia 17-11 as Jimmy Garoppolo threw one touchdown pass and ran in for another score.
All-Pro quarterback Jalen Hurts had an uneven performance in the loss, completing just 12 of 23 passes for 190 yards. He rushed for 82 yards, including a 1-yard TD in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles are much more explosive on offense after the addition of A.J. Brown and with both teams returning to practice on Wednesday, here are seven early storylines to watch.
Local kid heading home
Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
The NFC Championship will be a homecoming for 49ers OT Mike McGlinchey, a Philly native who went to Penn Charter.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
An MVP candidate and All-Pro, Hurts made himself even more money after Philadelphia went 0-2 while he rehabbed a shoulder injury.
The Eagles will unload the entire playbook on the 49ers’ defense and the star quarterback will be the player to watch.
Eagles offensive talent
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
The Birds are loaded on offense with Miles Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell, A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert as the feature performers.
San Francisco has faced a few elite offenses this season, but none with the juice or explosive potential that Philly offers.
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
The 49ers’ defense gets all the hype, but it’s Philadelphia’s defensive line that will come at you in waves.
Haason Reddick, Javon Hargrave, Brandon Graham, and Josh Sweat all recorded double-digit sack campaigns, and those are only the pass rushers.
Fletcher Cox, Jordan Davis, Linval Joseph, Milton Williams, Ndamukong Suh, and Robert Quinn will ensure that Brock Purdy and the Niners’ offensive line will be gassed by night’s end.
49ers handle adversity well
Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Philadelphia is a difficult city to play in and San Francisco will make the cross-country trip for a chance at the Super Bowl.
The 49ers have overcome the loss of two starting quarterbacks, along with injuries at key positions, and Kyle Shanahan’s group still finished the season with 10 straight wins.
Look in the mirror
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Both teams are led by undervalued quarterbacks, talented running backs, star power at wide receiver, elite tight ends, and dominance in the trenches on both sides of the football.
Pass rushers galore, solid play at middle linebacker, and a game-changer off the edge. Only Nick Bosa had more sacks than Haason Reddick.
Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
The two quarterbacks involved in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game are very familiar with each other and their rivalry started back in 2019.
Purdy was at Iowa State and Hurts at Oklahoma as the Sooners won 42-41 and the two dueling quarterbacks accounted for 11 total touchdowns.
Hurts threw for three touchdowns and ran for two, while Purdy threw for five touchdowns against the Sooners and ran for one.