It’s a short week for both the Eagles and Panthers, as they take on each other tonight in Charlotte on Thursday Night Football. Even though the Birds will be without Lane Johnson, Carson Wentz and company look to go 5-1 before entering a really long bye week.
To recap, here’s where the staff stands after three weeks:
T1: Bob (5-0), Tyler (5-0)
T3: Coggin (4-1), Kevin K (4-1), Tim (4-1)
T6: Chris (3-2), Kevin L (3-2),Kyle (3-2), Phil (3-2), Sean (3-2)
11: Anthony (1-4)
Our predictions for this week are after the jump:
Phil: It was a tremendous team effort by the Eagles on Sunday…but as much as I loved their chances against Arizona at home, I have grave concerns about what might happen at Carolina. The Eagles are traveling to a face a good team on short rest with three straight games at the Linc to follow, and you know that will be on their minds. If you think the Eagles can win this game in this spot, you probably think they can win 12 games. I don’t. Panthers 26, Eagles 20.
Bob: This is the first game this season that I don’t have a strong feeling about. There are some concerns. A short week and road game against a quality opponent isn’t a great mix. Cam Newton is completing over 68% of his passes and was outstanding in road over New England and Detroit. The Panthers have four players on pace for 750+ receiving yards (McCaffrey, Dickson, Benjamin, and Funchess), so Jim Schwartz will have his work cut out in slowing down the pass game. Still, Carolina can’t run the ball. Stewart (3.3 ypc) and McCaffrey (2.8 ypc) have been largely ineffective and the Eagles have the NFL’s second ranked rush defense. As for concerns about Carolina’s home field advantage, the Panthers are 1-1 at home this season. They were blown out by the Saints and squeaked by Buffalo, so I wouldn’t be overly concerned about that. What’s more, the Eagles are 5th in DVOA, while Carolina is 17th. Such numbers suggest the Eagles are the superior team. I believe it. Eagles 27, Panthers 23.
Coggin: An away game on a short week, with Lane Johnson possibly not playing against a stout Carolina defense? TROUBLE IS A-BREWING. I’d like the Eagles chances better if this were in Philadelphia and Johnson/Fletcher Cox were healthy. I’ve got my eye on you, Big V. If Carson gets hurt it’s your ass. Panthers 24, Eagles 21.
Sean: This game is going to suck. The Panthers are an extremely frustrating team to play. On offense, it’s death by 1000 paper cuts as they hit you with 4, 3 and 5 yard gains until your nose bleeds. On defense, they are disciplined and boring, but get the job done. The key for the Eagles will be to stay disciplined on defense and the offense will need to maintain time of possession and make the most of their scoring opportunities. Cam Newton is a great QB, but if you get a lead and force him to drop back consistently, he will make mistakes. This will be a tough, grind it out kind of game, but I feel the Eagles are up to the task. They’re bonding as a team and things are clicking for them across the board. I think the Eagles go down to Carolina and gut out a big win. Eagles 29, Panthers 19.
Kevin L: Many in the national media are talking about Carolina as if they are back to Superbowl contender form. Not this guy. Cam’s play has improved lately, but I think he’s still a few hits away from playing scared. Enter: Brandon Graham and Timmy Jernigan. If the Eagles front can rattle Newton, that will be the key to the game, because I expect this to be a low scoring game that a defense wins. The failure by the NFL to produce entertaining football on Thursday night resumes: Eagles 20, Panthers 13.
Anthony: Thursday Night Football is always ugly… even when the games are close and interesting (like this one will be) they include lots of poor, sloppy play. Guys play hurt, the game plan is hastily thrown together, there always seem to be more penalties, more mistakes, etc. So, I expect this one to actually be a bit of a lower scoring contest than the others. Panthers put good pressure on the QB and a line potentially without Lane Johnson is not a great line.
I’m not a Cam Newton fan. I don’t think he’s as good as so many people make him out to be and I think he struggles against the Eagles D some. I do think there are a bunch of field goals in this game though – and I just have a feeling Jake Elliott misses his first at some point in this game, and it’ll be the difference. Panthers 19, Eagles 16.
Tim: I hate this game in this spot for the Eagles. Thursday Night Football reliably produces contests as hideous as the garish “Color Rush” uniforms the teams are required to wear. Fletcher Cox’s return to the lineup drastically improves the Eagles’ front seven. I expect the Panthers to continue to struggle running the football. What concerns me is Cam Newton’s ability to escape the pocket and extend plays. He has two big receivers on the outside in Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess, who will pose a major challenge to the Birds’ patchwork secondary. The Panthers quarterback has turned his season around in the past few weeks, starting with an impressive win in Foxboro. The Eagles have an offense that travels well, and they are more than capable of winning this game. I just don’t see it happening. Panthers 27, Eagles 24.
Chris: This game is gonna be dominated by the passing game. Both teams have strong defensive fronts, but I wonder if LeGarrette Blount can get some big runs using his big body. I’m scared about our inexperienced corners against Carolina’s tall wideouts. Plus, Cam Newton has been balling lately. Does it keep going? Carolina won’t have center Ryan Kalil on their line either. The Eagles had their first complete game of the season on Sunday, against Arizona. Not the highest quality team. I don’t think they have a complete game tonight, but I think they barely pull it out. Eagles 31, Panthers 30.
Tyler: For the first time this season I don’t have a clear, gut feeling on a prediction. The cynical Eagles fan in me says this is an easy Carolina win, but many around the league are saying this is a different Eagles team. Is this the type of team, however, to go on the road, on short rest, missing its second best offensive lineman and potentially its best defensive lineman, and beat a 4-1 team that was just in the Super Bowl two years ago? For me, the answer is a no. This is the type of game where an Eagles win would make them a great team and a loss would leave them as a good team. I think the Eagles are good, but not great. It will be a close one, and great to watch, but ultimately a loss for the birds. Panthers 28 Eagles 27.
Kevin K: I want to say that the short week and “letdown” angles are a big deal here, but I really don’t know if they are. This is a team that went out to Los Angeles after an emotional home win and got the job done against an okay Chargers squad. Carolina ain’t LA, but they’re also on short rest coming off a pair of tight victories. I think the bigger deal is the absence of Lane Johnson. Hali Vaitai was solid off the bench Sunday, but the game was pretty much over by the time he came in. Cam Newton is playing high level ball right now and I don’t know if the Birds’ secondary holds up against this team. Panthers 24, Eagles 21.
Kyle: The Panthers are inconsistent and are not as good as their last two games would lead you to believe. The line reflects that with them as only a -3 at home. I think the Eagles take it. Eagles 24, Panthers 21.
Give us your predictions below.