Even Kyle Shanahan Doesn’t Understand Why The 49ers Are Favored
For some reason, the 8-3 49ers are road favorites over the 10-1 Eagles this weekend. The actual number has fluctuated, but they have been favored by up to 3 points. This despite the fact that the Eagles have the better record, and are 5-0 vs teams .500 or above. It doesn’t make sense to anyone. And that includes 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan. Reporters asked Shanahan about them being favorites, and this is what he said.
I’m glad we are in agreement. The Eagles were also underdogs two weeks ago vs the Chiefs. But in that case, there was only a 1 game difference in the standings, and the Chiefs were at home. It made some sense for the Chiefs to be favored. But at home, vs a team you have a two-game lead in the standings over, when you are undefeated vs winning teams, it is odd to be the underdog.
It continues a trend of computer models being down on the Eagles. The ESPN FPI claims the Eagles are the 7th best team in the league, even though they have beaten 4 of the 6 teams ranked over them. And the types of people who rely on those models to talk sports will swear the Eagles aren’t that good even though they have beaten all the teams their numbers say are better.
The thing is these models can’t take certain factors into account. Like how the Eagles have a knack for just pulling out close games. The 49ers meanwhile are 1-2 in games decided by 7 or fewer points. The 49ers either blow out teams or lose. But the model values blowouts, and ignores close wins. And the Eagles haven’t blown any teams out.
Most Eagles fans are probably happy about it though. We are a fanbase that has always thrived on being underdogs.