Jalen Hurts has continued to improve year in and year out, even though he was extremely overlooked after an incredible collegiate career. He led the Philadelphia Eagles to the playoffs in his first full season as a starter last year and then to a home NFC Championship game this year. He has been underrated his whole career and it is time to start looking at him as one of the elite quarterbacks in football.
Because 2022 has been the "Year of Jalen Hurts" and now he's one win away from reaching the Super Bowl.
Hurts So Good: Jalen Soars as Leader of Eagles Offense
Hurts played a nearly perfect game In his second career playoff game last week against the Giants. The Eagles were expected to win this game as the NFC's No.1 seed and they dominated from the start. They were hitting big plays right out the gate, including a 40-yard pass and catch from Hurts to Devonta Smith on their first drive. Although he only threw for 154 yards, Hurts looked comfortable and confident, just like he has his whole career.
Before he was drafted, Hurts was compared to players like Taysom Hill and Pat White, and referred to as a potential "gadget player." Only in his third year, he has already made more career starts than Hill and White combined. Along with these comparisons, many analysts questioned his accuracy and his decision-making. It seemed like draft analysts had a vendetta against Hurts because he never threw more than nine interceptions during his four years of college football. In his final year at Oklahoma, he threw for 32 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. It's clear that Hurts has always been a magician with the ball in his hands, and he will have to continue to be one if he wants to lead the Eagles past the 49ers.
The NFC Title Game Could Be Hurts' Biggest W Yet
While the New York Giants had a great team this year, they don't have nearly as much talent as the Niners. The Niners' roster consists of some of the best players in the NFL at each position. On offense, they have All-Pro players like tackle Trent Williams, and tight end George Kittle to complement rookie quarterback Brock Purdy. Like Hurts, Purdy is playing much better than expected, and he will have to continue to defy expectations for the Niners to keep winning as they have been.
The Niners' defense made life miserable for Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott in the Divisional Round. This defense is regarded by many as the clear-cut best in the NFL, and they were second in the league in takeaways with 30. They were able to pick Dak Prescott off twice in their playoff matchup, and are looking to do the same thing against Hurts.
One huge reason for the Eagles' success was how incredible Hurts was at taking care of the ball this year. The third-year quarterback threw only six interceptions all season and threw none in their divisional-round stomping of the Giants. If the Niners are able to force turnovers, it will be tough for Hurts like it was for Dak, but luckily the two are very different. Dak threw 15 interceptions over the course of the season, including ten over the last month. Coach Nick Sirianni will come into this game with a plan that works for his quarterback and his offense, and that has been the recipe for success all season long.
While the Eagles were the No. 1 seed in the NFC, the Niners ended their season as the hottest team in football, winning their last ten regular season games. So far they are 2-0 in the playoffs, bringing their win streak to an astonishing 12. The Eagles will look to stop this improbable run under Brock Purdy by dominating the line of scrimmage. Both teams have been able to do this all year, but the Eagles have really shown how good they are up front with their quarterback sneak strategy this year. The game will be played at 3 pm on Sunday, 1/29, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Hurts and the Eagles finished this year 7-2 at home and will look to add to that number in the win column against the Niners.
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