The Philadelphia Eagles will host the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in the NFC Championship, with a spot in Super Bowl LVII on the line. Both teams are led by young quarterbacks, Jalen Hurts for the Eagles and Brock Purdy for the 49ers. This is not the first time that these two quarterbacks have met on the field, back in 2019, when Hurts was at Oklahoma and Purdy at Iowa State, the two went toe-to-toe in a Big 12 battle that went down to the wire, with Hurts’ Sooners ultimately prevailing.
Jalen Hurts: The Eagles’ MVP
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Jalen Hurts is playing in his third season, his second as a full-time starter for the Philadelphia Eagles. He led the Eagle’s offense to one of its best years in the history of the franchise and played himself into the MVP debate. Hurts has been a dynamic quarterback for the Eagles this season, throwing for over 4,000 yards and 26 touchdowns, while also rushing for over 600 yards and six touchdowns. He has been the driving force behind the Eagles’ playoff run and will be looking to continue his strong play in the NFC Championship game.
Brock Purdy: The 49ers’ Surprise Starter
Lining up under center for the 49ers will be rookie Brock Purdy, who just two months ago was best known as “Mr. Irrelevant” as the last pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Entering the season as San Francisco’s third option, behind both Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo, Purdy wasn’t expected to see the field this season, much less lead the 49ers to the NFC title game.
But after Lance went down with an injury in Week 1, and Garoppolo followed him mid-season, Purdy was thrust into the spotlight, and handed the reins of one of the best teams in the NFL. So far, Purdy has not flinched, a perfect 8-0 in his games for the 49ers, with the team averaging 32.6 points per game since he’s taken over the starting job.
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A Rematch for the Ages
At the beginning of the year, it would have been tough to predict that Purdy and Hurts would be facing off at this point in the playoffs, but this isn’t the first time that Hurts and Purdy have met on the field. In the initial meeting, Oklahoma was a heavy favorite. Hurts connected with future Dallas Cowboys receiver CeeDee Lamb for two touchdowns in the first half to jump out to a 28-7 lead over the Cyclones, but Purdy fought back.
Trailing by 14 points in the final minutes, Purdy led his team on back-to-back touchdown drives to cut the Sooner’s lead to 42-41 with the extra point pending. On the road against a top team, the Cyclones daringly went for two and the win but came up just short.
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Who Will Prevail in the Rematch?
Oddsmakers have the Eagles as slight favorites at home, but the line has not given them more than a three-point edge over the underdogs. Reflecting on the game, neither Hurts nor Purdy believed it would have much impact on their second meeting. Both quarterbacks have stated that it was a different situation and scenario than what they are about to go through on Sunday. The NFC Championship kicks off on Sunday at 3 p.m. in Philadelphia, and it promises to be a thrilling game between two young and talented quarterbacks.
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