AFI’s Preview of the NFC Championship Game

By Enwereji Amuruche

The NFC Championship Game will feature a pair of teams who are no strangers to the game although one has an edge in terms of history.

The 49ers have reached the NFC title game five times since 2012 and won it twice (2020 and 2013) while Philadelphia has only made it to this game once in the past decade, winning it in 2018.

Still, the Eagles boast the best record. For the 49ers, this will be the first trip they make in these playoffs. They hosted the Seattle Seahawks and the Dallas Cowboys to clinch their spot in the NFC championship. The 49ers easily dispatched the Green Bay Packers 37-20 in their last NFC championship game back in the 2019/2020 season to clinch their spot in the Super Bowl which they eventually lost, 31-20 to the Kansas City Chiefs. The last time Philadelphia reached the NFC championship, back in 2017-18, they demolished the Vikings 38-7 to make it to the Super Bowl which they eventually won. 

San Francisco 49ers @ Philadelphia Eagles, January 29

Sunday’s matchup is a battle of two potential coach of the year candidates.

Eagles coach Nick Sirianni led his team to the best record in the NFC with a 14-3 record. Kyle Shanahan, head coach of San Francisco, lost two quarterbacks and placed Mr Irrelevant, Brock Purdy at the QB position. They went on a 10-game unbeaten run leading up to their meeting with the Eagles.

The Eagles have two of the most dynamic receivers in the NFL this season. The trade for AJ Brown gave the offense a receiver who makes tough catches to give the Eagles important first downs as well as peel outside and make tough touchdown Catches. Devonta smith who has taken a leap this year adds a different dynamic to the team’s receiving corp. It will be a battle of the running game, led by MVP candidate Jalen hurts. This should not be a high scoring game and I think it will come down to the pass rush that the 49ers boast. I expect DPOY candidate Nick Bosa to lead this 49ers defense to a 21-17 victory on sunday.

Shanahan has an offense featuring George Kittle, arguably one of the top two tight ends in the league and wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who on his day looks like the best player in the NFL. Before the trade deadline they acquired perennial Pro Bowler, Christian McCaffery who has been nothing short of a sensation for the offense. Brandon Aiyuk has taken a giant leap this season catching for over 1,000 yards. This well oiled machine is led by Brock Purdy, protected by an offensive line that includes Trent Williams.

This game is going to be a chess match between two brilliant coaching minds.

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