49ers vs. Eagles: Who experts picked in NFC title clash


Just one game stands between the 49ers and their second Super Bowl appearance in four seasons.

But San Francisco faces a fearsome foe in the top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles, who hope to end the 49ers' 12-game win streak in Sunday's NFC Championship Game at Lincoln Financial Field.

So, who do the NFL experts pick to win this matchup of epic proportions? We've compiled their choices, and here's what they're saying:

Sports Illustrated

Albert Breer, senior NFL reporter: 49ers

Mitch Goldich, editor: Eagles

Gary Gramling, senior editor: Eagles

Conor Orr, senior writer: 49ers

John Pluym, managing editor: 49ers 

The Athletic

These responses are from four assistant coaches and two front-office executives, all of whom were unnamed.

"I think Philly can do something similar defensively to Dallas with the pressure," an executive said. "Dallas wasn’t able to capitalize offensively [against the Niners]. Philly’s offense can put even more pressure on them [to force the 49ers to play more aggressively on offense to keep pace]. Having to account for [Eagles quarterback Jalen] Hurts in the run game is going to slow down their edge rushers. The Niners play that two-high-safety look, but that won’t matter to Philly because they don’t go vertical as much, and they’ll just attack the middle of the field."

"Eventually, Brock Purdy will struggle," a coach said. "If the Eagles can stop the run, they have a great chance to win a close game at home."

"The Niners will make it close, but ultimately, the Eagles are the better overall team," another executive said. "Philly’s defense will make life harder on Purdy than previous opponents."

"The Eagles’ point production will be too much for San Fran to match," a second coach said. "The defensive line will push the pocket on Purdy and make the inside pass game difficult. It won’t be a blowout, but I can see the last part of the fourth quarter being uncompetitive. I don’t see the weather or the crowd being overbearing for San Fran. Philly is just the best team in NFC."

"San Fran’s defense is good," a third coach said, "but Philly’s system will prevail at home."

Picks: Eagles 6, 49ers 0


"The 49ers' streak of 27 straight games without allowing a rusher to surpass 70 yards on the ground (including playoffs) will come to an end because of Hurts. The Niners have struggled against mobile quarterbacks in past seasons but didn't see many this season, which is why they were fifth in the NFL in yards allowed per rush to quarterbacks (3.4). Hurts presents a bigger challenge, ranking fourth among quarterbacks in rushing yards (760) and first in rushing touchdowns (13). He ran for 82 yards and a score in Week 2 last season against San Francisco, and with the Niners keying on slowing the deep-ball passing game, he could offer a similar performance on the ground." -- Nick Wagoner

Eric Moody's pick: Eagles 27, 49ers 24
Seth Walder's pick: Eagles 24, 49ers 16
FPI prediction: PHI, 65.3% (by an average of 4.5 points)

CBS Sports

Pete Prisco: Eagles

Jason La Canfora: Eagles

Will Brinson: Eagles

Jared Dubin: 49ers

Ryan Wilson: 49ers

John Breech: 49ers

Dave Richard: Eagles 

Jamey Eisenberg: Eagles

USA Today

Jarrett Bell: Eagles

Chris Bumbaca: 49ers

Nate Davis: 49ers

Safid Dean: Eagles

Tyler Dragon: Eagles

Lorenzo Reyes: 49ers

RELATED: Faithful to be heavily outnumbered by Eagles fans at the Linc

Pro Football Talk

"Over the course of the full season, the Eagles have been the better team. But in the last couple of months, since Brock Purdy became the 49ers’ starting quarterback, the 49ers have been better. I don’t want to discount the great season Jalen Hurts and the Eagles have had, and playing in Philadelphia is an advantage, but I think the 49ers are playing better football than the Eagles right now, and I’m picking the upset." -- Michael David Smith

MDS's pick: 49ers 24, Eagles 21

"It’s still a quarterback-driven league. And Jalen Hurts is a far more accomplished quarterback than Brock Purdy. Yes, Purdy hasn’t lost a game yet. He also has yet to face a team like the Eagles, in a place like Philadelphia. Maybe he’ll make a clutch play that delivers a win. Maybe the 49ers are otherwise good enough that he won’t have to. Regardless, Hurts is the more proven quarterback, and I’ve got more faith in him to make a big play in a big spot, and/or to inspire his teammates at the right moment to do something that will make a difference. It will be a very slim difference." -- Mike Florio

Florio's pick: Eagles 24, 49ers 23

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