The Eagles (3-3) enjoyed a needed break after soundly drubbing their division rivals, the Giants, last Thursday in a 34-13 dismantling.
It’s been a roller-coaster first six games, pocked with injuries and inconsistency, but the Eagles can feel confident about their direction going forward after another brilliant Carson Wentz effort.
Wentz picked apart the Giants’ defense in passing for 278 yards and three touchdowns while registering a season-high 122.2 passer rating. Wentz has compiled passer ratings over 115.0 in consecutive games for the first time in his career.
He’s also improving his accuracy, completing 68.4 percent of his passes, way higher than his 62.4 career mark. Defensively, the Eagles rank fifth in points allowed and have allowed 16 or fewer points in three of their six games.
The Panthers (3-2) are coming off an ugly 23-17 road loss against Washington in which they outscored their opponent 17-3 from the second quarter until the end of the game but couldn’t come up with the go-ahead touchdown despite having the ball inside Washington’s 20 on their final possession.
The Panthers look good one week, average the next – evidenced by their record. Cam Newton has adjusted well to new coordinator Norv Turner’s offense although he has four picks in his last five games and the Panthers rank just 21 in third-down offense.
Defensively, the Panthers are solid again, ranking 10th overall, but they’ve done terribly in the red zone with the NFL’s worst red-zone ranking.
Left tackle Jason Peters is expecting to play through a torn biceps. The injury isn’t debilitating, but Peters is already playing through a nagging quad injury and has shown more vulnerability than usual.
Meanwhile, right tackle Lane Johnson is trying to work through a high-ankle sprain. Injuries continue to decimate the secondary.
Nickel corner Sidney Jones is likely out from a hamstring. His spot will be filled by rookie Avonte Maddox, who’s been moonlighting at safety because of injuries to Rodney McLeod and Corey Graham. Second-year corner Rasul Douglas will likely spell at safety when Maddox goes to nickel but he’s not a safety by nature.
The Panthers are much healthier, especially with last week’s return of tight end Greg Olsen. He caught four passes for 48 yards against Washington. Pro Bowl linebacker Thomas Davis played well in his return last week from a four-game suspension.
Here are some things for NFL betting fans to consider in this matchup:
The Panthers haven’t fared well against the Eagles going back to 2015, with losses in their last two games against Philly, one by 11 points.
Cam Newton has struggled against the Eagles, completing just 59 percent of his passes and throwing just six touchdowns compared to nine interceptions with a 69.4 passer rating against them in four games.
Both of Carolina’s losses this year have come on the road and by at least six points, with an eight-point loss to the Falcons and a six-point loss to Washington.
The Eagles also seemed to have found their way since the second half of their Week 5 loss to the Vikings. Over the last six quarters, the Eagles have outscored their opponents 52-19. Last year, Wentz recorded his fourth-highest passer rating of the year (110.7) against the Panthers.
The most points allowed by the Eagles at home this year is 23, but injuries in the secondary should open the door for the Panthers to strike a few big plays with their vertical threats – Torrey Smith, rookie D.J. Moore, lengthy Devin Funchess and even flex running back Christian McCaffrey. Moore is averaging more than 16 yards per catch.
The Panthers are averaging 24 points per game this year despite facing two top-10 defenses. The Eagles are averaging a shade under 23 points per game but have come alive recently, averaging 26 points per game over the last three weeks.
Also, the Panthers are terrible in the red zone, allowing touchdowns on 9 of 11 possessions inside their 25. The Eagles should capitalize there. If both teams just reach their season average, the final total would be more than 47.
With the over/under set at 45.5, back the over with Karamba.
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