Eagles Hungry Dog & Bird In The Doghouse, NFC Championship

Posted on January 30, 2023

Our Philadelphia Eagles are headed to Super Bowl 57!

After defeating the San Francisco 49ers 31-7 in the NFC championship game, they will clash with the Kansas City Chiefs in Phoenix, Arizona, in two weeks. It will be a matchup of multiple storylines, featuring the Kelce brothers, and Andy Reid facing his former team.

Let’s look at the hungry dog (player/coach of the game) and bird in the doghouse (worst player/coach of the game) performances against the San Francisco 49ers. I’ll also predict the best and worst performers in the Eagles’ upcoming matchup with the Chiefs.

NFC Championship – Hungry Dog, 49ers @ Eagles

For the second week in a row, Jonathan Gannon is the star. He not only deserves the hungry dog award but respect from fans and the media.

His defense was relentless against the 49ers, sacking their quarterbacks three times, and racking up seven quarterback hits. They also collected five tackles for a loss and forced three fumbles. Kyle Shanahan allowed a tight end to block Haason Reddick early in the game, leading to Brock Purdy’s injury. Purdy would miss the 2nd and 3rd quarters, with Josh Johnson and Christian McCaffrey playing quarterback in relief.

Neither quarterback was ready for the task and faced constant pressure from the Eagles’ defensive line. The Eagles defensive backs held four of the 49ers’ receivers in check, with 97 yards combined and zero touchdowns. George Kittle and Deebo Samuel were non-factors. The front seven allowed only 81 rushing yards, a 23-yard run by Christian McCaffrey being the only mistake.

The defense controlled the game’s tone and gave a struggling Eagles offense multiple opportunities to score. The defense will have a tall task in Super Bowl 57, facing an elite quarterback in Patrick Mahomes, but their defensive line is a nightmare matchup for the Chiefs offensive line.

NFC Championship – Bird In The Doghouse, 49ers @ Eagles

Shane Steichen and Jalen Hurts made Sunday’s game a bit more frustrating than it needed to be early on. The Eagles’ offense is my bird in the doghouse pick this week. Despite scoring 31 points, the unit left plenty of meat on the bone.

They could not capitalize on a 49ers fumble in the first quarter and punted three straight times, letting the 49ers hang around. The Eagles were able to pull away after the 49ers fumbled again in the second half, but it was a less-than-impressive day statistically for the offense. Although Jalen Hurts gained yards with his legs and earned a rushing touchdown, he passed for 121 yards and zero touchdowns.

He overthrew a pass to AJ Brown in the first quarter, likely a sure touchdown. The Eagles’ running backs collectively gained tough yards but rushed for only 148 yards collectively. The Eagles’ wide receivers caught 15 passes for 121 combined yards. To beat the Chiefs in the Super Bowl, the Eagles offense will have to impose their will. Luckily, the Chiefs’ defense doesn’t present the same test as the 49ers.

Hungry Dog Prediction – SUPER BOWL 57

Jonathan Gannon’s defense has been the star of this postseason, so I’m riding the hot hand and picking them for the Super Bowl-hungry dog. The Chiefs’ offensive line is a vulnerable unit, and I expect the Eagles’ defensive line to get home.

Patrick Mahomes’ mobility is his strength, but he was clearly affected by a high ankle sprain in the match-up against the Bengals. Likely, he’ll still have pain in two weeks, and his lateral movement will be affected.

I expect Jonathan Gannon to call an aggressive game, teeing off on the Chiefs’ offensive line and testing that ankle. The Eagles defensive line is the x-factor. If they give Mahomes a tough time, they will win the Super Bowl.

Bird In The Doghouse Prediction, SUPER BOWL 57

I suspect that if the Eagles lose to the Chiefs, it will be due to ineffective playcalling. Shane Steichen is my bird in the doghouse prediction for Super Bowl 57. During the regular season, the Chiefs’ defense was a top-10 unit at defending the run. In the postseason, they’ve only allowed 215 rushing yards through two games.

Some may say grinding out the clock and keeping Mahomes off the field is a solid strategy, but the Chiefs’ run defense has been so consistent. On the other half of the spectrum, this unit was bottom 15 at defending the pass. In the postseason, they’ve allowed 487 receiving yards through two games. Steichen cannot repeat his lack of aggression in the NFC title game, and the Eagles will likely need to beat the Chiefs through the air.

  • Who would be your hungry dog and bird in the doghouse picks for the Eagles’ game against the San Francisco 49ers?
  • Who do you think will be the biggest difference makers and disappointments for the Eagles heading into the Super Bowl against the Chiefs?
  • The two-week wait will be excruciating, but take the time and savor it.
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Keiana Williams

Call me Kei! I’m a Philadelphia sports fan, mother of two, and a partnered streamer on Twitch! I’ve been a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles for over 20 years and also enjoy reading, writing, and gaming in my spare time!

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