One of the best games of the NFL season is on tap for this weekend, as the 10-1 Philadelphia Eagles will play host to the 8-3 San Francisco 49ers in a late-afternoon game. Philly and San Francisco met in the NFC title game last year, but injuries to both Brock Purdy and 49ers backup quarterback Josh Johnson essentially ended the game before it really got started.
The two teams are each again among the NFL’s best, and this showdown promises to be one of the defining games of the regular season. But there is something highly unusual about the game, as well: Despite entering the contest with an NFL-best record, the Eagles have been installed as 2.5-point underdogs at home, according to the Sportsline consensus odds.
According to the CBS Sports research team, this will be the first time since at least 1970 that a team has entered a game at 10-1 or better, with its starting quarterback healthy and active, and been an underdog at home. Two previous teams had a record of 10-1 or better and were home dogs, but they were playing a meaningless final game of the regular season with their backup quarterback. That was the case with the 2011 Green Bay Packers (the Matt Flynn game) and the 2020 Kansas City Chiefs (Chad Henne started).
But all indications are that Eagles QB Jalen Hurts will play against San Francisco, and the Eagles are still underdogs against the Niners. It’s an interesting line because despite having the NFL’s best record, Philly’s point differential suggests a team that is slightly inferior to San Francisco. It’s win expectation based on point differential, per Pro-Football-Reference.com, is 7-4, while San Francisco’s is just shy of 9-2….