Philadelphia Eagles vs. Carolina Panthers Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Philadelphia Eagles (0-0) vs. Carolina Panthers (0-0), 1:00 p.m. EST,
Sunday, September 13, 2009, Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C.,

by Badger of

Point Spread: Eagles -1.5/Panthers +1.5
Over/Under: 43.5

To the NFL purist, the highlight game on the week one schedule this
Sunday, as far as the NFC is concerned, will be played in Charlotte
at Bank of America Stadium where the Carolina Panthers will host the
Philadelphia Eagles in a battle of two playoff teams from last season.

The Eagles seem to be a very trendy pick this season despite playing
in the brutal NFC East, as the addition of Michael Vick, Jeremy
Macklin and a few lineman (Jason Peters, Stacy Andrews) to reload
what was already one of the leagues best offenses seems to be very
popular with the pundits.

Last year the Panthers won the NFC South with a 12-4 record and had
one of the NFLs top running back duos in DeAngelo Williams and James
Stewart, but as they say last year was last year. Carolina just
ended a terrible training camp and preseason, Stewart is hurt to
start this season and the Panthers defense has already been ravaged
by season-ending injuries, its already a high-wire act in Panther-
land this year.

The point spread in this game has seen significant line movement, opening with the Panthers as slim 1-point favorites at home. But
early action has caused the oddsmaker to reverse course and now its the
Eagles as high as 2-point favorites on the road (most offshore
sportsbooks are still Eagles minus 1.5-points).

The over/under total has moved a point as well, opening at 44.5 only to drop to 43.5 after the early money at the window caused it to drop.

Philly head coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Marty
Mornhinweg must love scripting their offensive game plan each week,
with the additions of Vick and Macklin to mainstay weapons Brain
Westbrook, DeSean Jackson and underrated tight end Brent Celek.
Quarterback Donovan McNabb is going to have a huge year, and the
addition of Peters and Andrews proves they mean business.

Carolinas offense will be without a full-speed Stewart at backup
running back to start the season, but otherwise the Panthers should
be as potent as ever when they have the rock. Williams and his
ability to hit big touchdown runs on any given play is what makes
them dangerous, otherwise quarterback Jake Delhomme has a nice
complement of veteran receivers in Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammad
and the Panthers are content to play field-position football.

Defensively both teams come into the opener with questions.

Carolina is down a nose guard, linebackers Jon Beason (questionable)
and Thomas Davis (probable) didnt play a snap in the preseason, and
the Panthers dont have enough money to get veteran help because they
put the franchise tag on end Julius Peppers to keep him on the team.

The question the Eagles defense must answer is can they still be the
same without Jim Johnson calling the blitzes? Johnson, who is taking
a year off while he battles cancer, was a master at in-game blitz
calls, a skill new coordinator Sean McDermott may not have right
away. The Eagles will also move on without safety Brian Dawkins in
the secondary, someone they may be able replace on the field, but
maybe not as a leader in locker room.

If youre looking for meaningful betting trends for the game, good
luck. They have a small sample size of just six games and the numbers
go nowhere.

These two teams havent played a regular season game against each other since 2006, when the Eagles won at home by a 24-13 score. In
six lifetime meetings the Eagles are 4-2 SU and 4-2 ATS against the
Panthers. The over/under is a dead even 3-3.

Two of those six games were played in Charlotte before, once in 1999
( a 33-7 Panthers win) and once in 2003 ( a 25-16 Eagles win), for a
dead 1-1 ATS and 1-1 O/U.

Badgers Pick: The Eagles havent played very well on the road the last few years, and everyone seems to be counting out the Panthers early. I like bucking the trend, so Im taking the home dog here. Take Carolina plus the 2 points.