Philadelphia Eagles (4-1 SU, 3-2 ATS) vs. Carolina Panthers (4-1 SU, 3-2 ATS)
NFL Week 6
Date/Time: Thursday, October 12, 2017 at 8:30PM EST
Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: PHI +3/CAR -3
Over/Under Total: 45.5
The Philadelphia Eagles come into Charlotte to face the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football in a battle of 4-1 teams. Both teams have seen success this season and could make it ring truer with a high-quality win this week. The Panthers went into Detroit on Sunday and scored a big 27-24 win over the Lions. Cam Newton was in vintage form and there is a lot of hope moving forward for the Panthers. The Eagles took care of business at home on Sunday with a resounding 34-7 win over the Cardinals. They look to make it 5-1 this week in what should be a tough road spot for Philly.
Despite looking ragged to start the season, its clear that Cam Newton is ready to resume his vintage form. Hes really zipping the ball around the field, as opposed to earlier in the season when the Panthers offense looked a bit sluggish. Guys around him are chipping in and making up for some key losses on both sides of the ball. The offense and defense play off each other and an offense that is moving the ball freely makes their aggressive and difference-making defense all the more potent. Through five games, they more-closely resemble the team of 2015 that went to the Bowl and less like the 6-10 team they were last season. They can do a lot of different things on both sides of the ball and they look to be a lot to contain heading into week six.
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Newton was tremendous against the Lions, with 355 yards and three TD passes on the day. It really helps to have guys like Ed Dickson step up with the void left by Greg Olsen, as he went for 175 yards on Sunday and was a big part of the win. Kelvin Benjamin had a TD grab, while rookie Christian McCaffrey got into the end zone for the first time. He might not be the back they were hoping for, but hes a nifty receiver who can do a lot of things aerially. The sudden emergence of previous letdown first-rounder Devin Funchess has also given the offense another viable option. Some more contributions on the ground by McCaffrey and Jonathan Stewart would go a long way, but the run game still isnt all that bad and looms as a threat.
On Sunday against the Lions, the Carolina Panthers were able to impose their physicality and take the momentum away after Detroit led 10-3 in the second quarter. They got after Matthew Stafford in a big way, with Kawann Short notching a pair of sacks, with Julius Peppers, Shaq Thompson, Mario Addison and Captain Munnerlyn also getting to Stafford on the day. Thomas Davis recovered a lost fumble, while Luke Kuechly was very active, as is his wont. This is a group that offers a lot of balance, strong against the run and the pass, with a knack of getting the kinds of big plays that really give the team a boost.
Still, the Eagles should present a robust test for a home Panthers bunch. Some may remember how their good start last season fizzled out. Waiting for that to happen this season could be a costly game for bettors to play. The growth of Carson Wentz has been pronounced and he really seems to play his best when the situation is at its most crucial. The line has been dealing with personnel issues and inconsistent play at times, but Wentz is very adept at side-stepping defenders and has advanced pocket-presence for such a young player. The defense can be exploited on occasion, but they are aggressive and look to make big plays. So far this season, theyve made a lot of contributions to the Eagles 4-1 start.
The Eagles had things their own way at home on Sunday against a dilapidated Cardinals team. Wentz went over 300 yards again with four touchdown throws. Its promising to see Wentz get former first-rounder Nelson Agholor involved, as he caught a TD among his 86 yards on Sunday. Torrey Smith caught a 59-yard touchdown, with productive TE Zach Ertz also getting in the end zone. Alshon Jeffery has been relatively quiet in his first season with the Eagles, but the bottom-line is that Wentz has far more tools with which to work than he had last season in his rookie campaign. Weve seen LeGarrette Blount springing to life with some big runs to give the offense a little versatility. Wentz is also pretty good when needing to spring a run. Hes very clutch on third down and has come up with the right answers this season when in a pinch.
The Eagles defense is not invulnerable. They give up yardage and points and sometimes appear to be exploitable. But they make up for it with clutch play and coming up with difference-making plays. Against Arizona, a lot of Cardinals drives died on a vine. They have a nice second level with Mychal Kendricks, Nigel Bradham, and Jordan Hicks. The line was good on Sunday, with Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham getting sacks, but they await the return of DE Fletcher Cox from injury. Timmy Jernigan and Beau Allen were solid against the run and they look for more of the same this week. The secondary made a lot of big and timely stops, with Rodney McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins providing good safety play, along with Jalen Mills and Rasul Douglas doing their thing. Its an aggressive defense that plays with an edge and really guns for game-changing plays.
Each team faces the same challenge with the quick turnaround for this game on the short week. Its not an easy matchup to dissect, nor is it simple to forecast how these teams will play off each other. It has the feel of a close game that could come down to who comes up with the right answers late. Neither team is that easy to bet against at this point. But I see a relaxed Eagles team making some things happen on both sides of the ball this week. Im taking the points.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Philadelphia Eagles plus 3 points. Many players have crapped out as early season betting has been ROUGH. Instead of re-depositing and getting nothing for it, please consider taking advantage of a GIANT 100% bonus at GTBets where they will match your deposit of $100 to $500 DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR! Credit cards work there! It also helps support our site which is MUCH appreciated!