Philadelphia comes into this week seven matchup after blowing out the Giants on Thursday night last week. The Panthers couldn’t complete a comeback, and lost a close one to the Redskins in week six. Here is a preview of the Eagles and Panthers week seven matchup:
What happened the last time they faced off:
October 13, 2017: The Eagles came into a Thursday night matchup, on a two game winning streak and with hopes of taking control of the NFC. After falling behind early in the game, Carson Wentz and the Eagles responded and won by a final score of 28-23. Cam Newton was picked off three times and a late interception by Jalen Mills sealed the deal for Philly. Wentz chewed up the Panthers secondary and completed 16 of 30 for 222 yards and three touchdowns, two of them to Zach Ertz in the red zone. The Eagles run defense was on its game, limiting Christian McCaffrey and former Panther Jonathan Stewart to just 4 yards on 12 carries. However, the Eagles had trouble containing Cam Newton as he ran 11 times for 71 yards and an ankle-breaking touchdown run. Eagles against the Panthers is usually a good matchup and the Eagles have won six of their last ten games.This week’s matchup should be another good one.
Eagles Notes for week seven:
The Eagles secondary finally showed some competence:
Hats off to Jalen Mills, someone whom I have criticized for most of this season. Assigned with guarding Sterling Shepard, he shut him down to just three catches for 37 yards on seven targets. Sure, a lot of that can be put on the hands of Eli Manning, who looked absolutely old and terrible, but it’s an encouraging sign to see Jalen Mills play well. With the exception of one long ball to Cody Latimer that Mills allowed, he looked good. Besides that, Avonte Maddox, a rookie out of Pittsburgh, may be the answer at safety. The Eagles have been looking for someone to replace Rodney McLeod after he suffered a season-ending injury in week two, and Maddux looked good at that position last week. It will be interesting to see how he fairs at safety facing a better QB this week.
The Receivers are finally starting to get involved:
With the return of Alshon Jeffery, the Eagles receivers are starting to become a bigger factor. Jeffery not playing until week four, Mike Wallace suffering a season-ending injury, and Mack Hollins going to the IR all contributed to the Eagles receivers being ineffective to start the season. Last week, Jeffery had one of his best games as an Eagle, catching 8 of 12 targets for 74 yards and two touchdowns. Nelson Agholor also had a season high in receiving yards, catching 3 passes for 91 yards. Through the first few weeks, the Eagles just didn’t have enough playmakers and struggled to make big plays. Having Jeffery back changes the dynamic of the Eagles’ passing attack.
Panthers notes for week seven:
Their rushing attack has been great so far:
Through five games, the Panthers are averaging 139.4 YPC, which ranks fourth in the NFL. Christian McCaffrey has been effective in his second NFL season with 71 carries for 349 yards, a 4.9 YPC average. As always, Cam Newton has been tough to contain as he has broken out and scrambled 45 times for 208 yards and three touchdowns. As I mentioned earlier, the Eagles had a tough time stopping Newton last year and it will be interesting to see how Jim Schwartz’ group fairs against the run this week.
They Haven’t gotten much production from their receivers:
Since losing Steve Smith Sr. years ago, the Panthers haven’t had a true number one receiver. Sure, one could make the claim that Kelvin Benjamin had his moments, especially during his rookie year. Devin Funchess really isn’t a number one receiver in this league. While he did make a great catch last week where he “Mossed” a Redskins defender, he leads the team with just 312 receiving yards, which ranks 45th in the NFL. Their second leading receiver is D.J. Moore, who has just 10 catch for 162 yards, ranking 117th in yards and tied for 155th in catches. Former Eagle, Torrey Smith, has also been ineffective (as he was for much of the last three seasons). Getting Greg Olsen back helps, but the Panthers should look to upgrade their receiving corps if they want to make a serious playoff run.
Who wins this game:
In my opinion, this game is as close to a toss up as you can get. The Eagles come in as 5 point favorites and I have them winning the game with Carolina covering the spread. This game is very close and I don’t suggest betting on it. That being said, this is another favorable matchup for the Eagles secondary. Since last year the Panthers have traded away Kelvin Benjamin, who went off for 9 catches and 99 yards against the Eagles last season. Carolina hasn’t won in Philly since 2012, and the Eagles have played well at home under Doug Pederson.
Final Score: Eagles 31, Panthers 27
I hope you’ve enjoyed this preview. Come back next week for a preview of the Eagles-Jaguars week eight matchup in London on beatthebooks.net