Carolina Panthers (3-5-1 SU, 5-4 ATS) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (6-2 SU, 5-3 ATS)
NFL Week 10
Date and Time: Monday, November 10, 2014, 8:30 pm EST
Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pa.
TV: ESPN, DirecTV 206
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Car. +6/Phil. -6
Over/Under Total: 48
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The free-falling Carolina Panthers will try and salvage the 2014 season from slipping away from them when they go on the road this week for the National Football Leagues primetime showcase game Monday Night Football, but in order to do so theyll have to turn it around against one of the NFCs six-win teams when they face the Philadelphia Eagles in Lincoln Financial Field on ESPN.
The Panthers lost their third straight game last Thursday night in primetime too, struggling to muster just 231 yards of total offense in a disheartening loss to the rival New Orleans Saints at home, 28-10. With Cam Newton clearly not 100 percent health-wise, a banged up and thinned offensive line trying to protect him and open up holes for their aging and frankly, very vanilla running back core, its hard to envision how the Panthers will be able get things turned around against the Eagles on Monday night.
Perhaps the only saving grace for the Panthers is that the Eagles will also enter the primetime affair with their own injuries to content with on Monday, naming at quarterback with starter Nick Foles out for close to the remainder of the season with a broken collarbone. Former Jet Mark Sanchez came in and helped the Eagles dispatch the Houston Texans last weekend, 31-21, throwing for 202 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions off the bench, but if you think the Eagles and Chip Kellys offense will just keep-on keeping on, well, you must of missed all of the Jets games the past few seasons.
Apparently, the oddsmakers believe that any QB can thrive in Kellys scheme at Philly since the points spread for the game opened with the Eagles as surprising 5.5-point favorites. After a day and a half the betting public seems to agree, since the number has actually gone up to Eagles minus -6 at most sportsbooks both in Las Vegas and on the Web.
The over/under total opened at 48 and most the most part has hung right there, but as is normally the case with totals, you can find it listed at 48, 48.5 and 49 if you just look hard enough.
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Maybe Im one of the few that are critical of how the Sanchez-led Eagles will play on offense that that hes the quarterback. I do think that Kellys scheme fits the athletic Sanchez better than the classic dropback pro-style that he was forced to play in New York, and the combo of LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles is way better than any kind of running game that he had in his years as a Jet, but lets not get ahead of ourselves here. Lets not lose sight of the fact that his performance last week came against the Texans and their 29th-ranked pass defense. If the Carolina defense can somehow force the Eagles into third-and-long situations, the infamous Philly faithful could lose their voices by halftime booing at Sanchez like he was still a visiting Jet. Although, without Greg Hardy coming off the edge the Panthers are having a terrible time getting off the field on third downs anyway.
The one advantage to the Panther getting embarrassed slightly in primetime last Thursday night is that they did get 10 full days of rest to lick their wounds and try and get healthy again. Left tackle Byron Bell, and starting guards Trai Turner and Amini Silatolu are all listed as questionable for the game on Monday, so if they can get any of all of them back in the lineup maybe the Panthers offense can get back on track. The Eagles defense certainly hasnt been the strongest unit in the NFL (22nd overall), but they do tend to pick up momentum when the field gets shorter and theyre defending their own red zone, because they do allow just 22 points per game (14th in NFL).
Carolina last visit to the Linc in 2012 was a success, as the Panthers walked away with a, 30-22, victory back in the final season of the Andy Reid era in Philly. All told though, the Eagles have had the upper hand in the series winning three of the last four and five of the eight lifetime meetings between the two NFC franchises. Ironically, the against the spread record is exactly the same as the straight up record, with Carolina covering in 12, but Philly covering the previous three meetings while going 5-3 ATS lifetime.
There are a few other betting trends that could make their way into the Monday night game in some form or fashion, including the Eagles 9-4 ATS record in their last 13 MNF games. Carolina is also just 2-5 ATS in their last seven road games, but a solid 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games against a fellow NFC opponent. The over is also an impressive 7-1-1 in the Eagles last nine games played in the primetime spotlight of Monday Night.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: After this week Philly fans will have a greater appreciation of Foles and what he brings to the Eagles as their starting QB. Sorry, but Im not a fan of Sanchez. Never have been, and despite the better fit scheme-wise, the Philly offense will sputter this week without Foles calling the shots. Carolina is way overdue too. The Panthers will cover 6-points, in a game I expect will finish under the toal as well. Take the Panther plus the points.