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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


By Marc Lawrence, — The NFC title game features the squads that have been most productive and consistent this season. Somethins’ gotta’ give here:

San Francisco over PHILADELPHIA by 3

A classic matchup of the league’s top two defenses finds the 19th consecutive different NFC East champion Eagles arriving to the championship game sporting the label of conference No. 1 seed. The Birds’ 31-point victory over the G-Men last week tied their franchise record and it was the largest between divisional opponents since the 1970 merger. So what have No. 1 seeds accomplished in Championship Games? Those from the NFC are 18-8 SU and 14-11-1 ATS since 1990 – when the league realigned its divisions to the current configuration. That’s the good news for the Eagles. The bad news is these same teams are just 6-4 SU and 2-8 ATS since 1998 when coming off a Divisional Round win of more than 10 points, which dramatically lowers the bar of expectation. From a statistical perspective, the Philly defense leads the league in sacks, pressure rate, yards per play, yards per pass attempt, tackles for loss and opponent negative plays – all the characteristics of a No. 1 seed. Nevertheless, the Niners enter tops in the NFL in Turnover Margin at +0.8, while Frisco allowed just 98 explosive plays in the regular season, which tied for fourth-fewest. The Eagles offense was second in the NFL with 80 explosive plays, trailing only the Chiefs, so this will be strength-versus-strength. Frisco is in the NFC title game for the second year in a row, and third in the last four years. The Niners’ 36th all-time postseason victory last week is tied with Dallas, Green Bay, and Pittsburgh for second most all time. Only New England, with 37, has more. Remember, last year at this time, Cincinnati was the long shot (+700) of the four teams in the Conference Championship games. This year the 49ers assume that role at +300, showing how close this year’s group of teams is. An extra Niners’ additive is San Francisco PK Robbie Gould, who has made all 67 of his career playoff kicks, and is perfect on 38 extra-point attempts and 29 fi eld goals. Yes, a suddenly seasoned QB Brock Purdy is in deeper waters than he’s been in his young career, but thanks to a promise fulfilled by the San Francisco defense, he’s answered every demand made of him. One final thought. The WOM reminds us playoff teams coming off consecutive SUATS wins who were bounced in a championship game the previous year (San Francisco) are 20-1 SUATS since 1985 as either a favorite or as a dog of less than 3 points versus foes off a SUATS win. Can’t fade that.

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One Response

  1. I’m riding the 49 RS wagon but have to admit that going to the # 1 NFC tough home court with a young QB who will be facing a ferocious defense and home crowd.Bet the team with the best uniforms to the Super Bowl weeks ago But today I bet the Under in total points.The stats of yrs ago,do they represent what happens to a young QB who will be grilled on each play ?What about their main receiver and running backs are they 100% ? Is San Fran really that tough? We’ ll see. Good day for a loaf of home made Cheese Steak ‘ wit’ provolone.

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