On Thursday night, the Philadelphia Eagles hit the road to take on the Carolina Panthers. It’s a battle of two 4-1 teams looking to claim the top spot in the NFC. Will the Panthers continue their resurgence or will the Eagles keep soaring? Kickoff inside Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, is at 8:25 PM.
The Eagles are coming off a blowout victory at home against the Arizona Cardinals, where Carson Wentz had a big day. Philly has won 3 straight games since their 27-20 loss at Kansas City, who remains the only undefeated team in the league. The Eagles are in first place in the NFC East and hope to keep their top spot in the division with a big road win this week at Carolina.
Carolina is coming off a solid win at Detroit 27-24. The Panthers were ahead for most of the game before the Lions stormed back. Fortunately, the defense did enough late in the game to preserve the victory. The Panthers are a half-game ahead of Atlanta in the NFC South and look to add another impressive victory to their 2017 resume by defeating the Eagles on this short week.
The spread opened with Carolina favored by 3 points, and it hasn’t moved. Keep an eye on it as we get closer to game time. The Over/Under opened at 45 total points and it has moved up to 45.5 – 46 total points depending on the sports book.
Philly is looking for their 4th straight win this week, but will have a difficult time this week at Carolina. The Panthers defense is still one of the best in the league as they’re only allowing 294 total yards per game and 18 points per game. Additionally, they allow just under 80 rushing yards per game. But, Philly’s defense won’t be outdone by the Panthers as their run defense is even better as they only allow 62 rushing yards per game. Unfortunately, they allow nearly 300 passing yards per game and that will be a problem this week against Cam Newton.
Cam is heating up and the NFL needs to take note! Newton has had two great games in a row and both of them were on the road. In New England, two weeks ago, Cam threw for 316 yards on 22-of-29 passes. He also threw for 3 touchdown passes and ran another in. This past weekend, Cam went up against a stingy Lions defense and threw for 355 passing yards on 26-of-33 passes. He also tossed in 3 touchdown passes. With an Eagles secondary giving up big yards, I like Cam’s chances this week at home. Additionally, #2 receiver Devin Funchess is really stepping up opposite of stud receiver Kelvin Benjamin.
In the last two weeks, Funchess has totaled 14 receptions, 123 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns. He’s become a legitimate option in the passing game and is opening up more possibilities for Cam Newton. Speaking of Benjamin, the big receiver is getting into a groove after some knee issues early in the season. He’s also had a solid two weeks: 8 receptions, 162 receiving yards and 1 touchdown. I expect both of these receivers to flirt with 100 yard games this week against Philly.
Philly has yet, to play a defense as good as Carolina. And, on the road, it will be even tougher. I don’t expect Wentz to duplicate what he just did against Arizona this past weekend (304 passing yards and 4 TDs). Since Philly doesn’t have any legitimate run game, Carolina will drop 7 into coverage and dial different blitzes to trick or confuse Wentz. This is the game where Wentz will come back down to reality.
The Eagles are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 road games. Carolina is 4-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games against NFC East opponents, 12-5 ATS in their last 17 games where the line is between +3 to -3 points, and 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games where they are a favorite of 3 points or less.
Whichever team can get any kind of running game going this week will win this game. Both teams like to throw the ball a lot, but it’s the run game that will be the deciding factor. I like the duo of Stewart and McCaffery over anything that Philly has to offer, especially if it includes the prodding Legarrette Blount. Additionally, Cam’s rushing ability should scare Philly this week.
I believe the Panthers are back and a legit contender for the NFC Conference and this week will further to prove that argument. Look for Cam to have another 300 yard passing game and for the Panthers to limit Wentz’s success this week. This game should be a close one until Carolina pulls away late in the game and wins 31-23.