Philadelphia Eagles (4-1 SU, 4-1 ATS, 3-2 O/U) at Carolina Panthers (4-1 SU, 3-2 ATS, 3-2 O/U)
When and Where: Thursday, Oct. 12, Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C., 8:25pmET
Line: Carolina -3
Two teams on winning streaks face each other in what should be a very good Thursday night matchup. Philadelphia is coming off a dominating home performance against Arizona, cruising to a 34-7 win. Carolina upset Detroit on the road, 27-24 to win their second straight game. The Panthers face the Eagles on Thursday night from Bank of America Stadium.
Eagles are flying
Philadelphia has won three straight games, but in their last two, they edged the New York Giants (27-24) and the LA Chargers (26-24). They jumped on Arizona on Sunday early, scoring three quick touchdowns passes from Carson Wentz in the first quarter. The last was a 59-yard bomb to Torrey Smith, who is trying to rejuvenate his career after wasting time in San Francisco. The Cardinals scored on a Carson Palmer 13-yard pass to John Brown with 11:42 left in the second quarter. That was it for the Cardinals as the Eagles held them to just 276 yards overall, including 31 yards rushing on 14 carries. Wentz was very good, completing 21 of 30 for 304 yards with four TDs and one pick. LeGarrette Blount rushed for 74 yards on 14 attempts for the Eagles. Blunt has been a solid presence for the Eagles’ running game, rushing for 344 yards (he missed the Kansas City loss) with two touchdowns.
But for the key for the Eagles has been the improvement of Wentz in his second season. Wentz has completed 62.1 percent of his passes for 1,362 yards with 10 TDs and just three picks with a 97.7 QB rating. Last season, he threw for 16 TDs and 14 picks. Smith and Nelson Agholor have given Philadelphia some deep threats, while TE Zach Ertz is the interior threat, with 32 catches and 387 yards with two TDs. The Eagles rank third in the NFL with 397.8 yards per game of offense and fifth in rushing yards per game at 138.8. On defense, they rank 22nd with 346 yards per game allowed and second in rushing yards per game allowed (62.8ypg).
MVP Cam is back
Cam Newton got off to a slow start in his first three games this season. Maybe it was due to off-season shoulder surgery or that he played sparingly in preseason. But whatever it was, Newton is back to his 2015 self, at least in the last two games. In Week 4, he took apart New England on the road, passing for 316 yards and three TDs in a 33-30 Panthers win. This past Sunday, Newton was spectacular against a much better defense. He passed for 355 yards with three TDs and no picks in leading his team to the 27-24 road win. In the first half, with the Lions up 10-3, Newton hit rookie Christina McCaffrey for a 6-yard touchdown pass for the first TD of his career. The Panthers took the lead for good on a Newton to Devin Funchess 10-yard pass and then Newton hit Kelvin Benjamin for a perfect 31-yard touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone. The Panthers added an insurance field goal from Graham Gano with 9:26 left and that was big as the Lions scored two straight touchdowns to make the game close. Tight end Ed Dickson had a career game with five catches for 175 yards.
If there is a concern, it’s getting more out of the running game. Jonathan Stewart leads the Panthers with 295 yards and a TD, while McCaffrey has just 96 rushing yards on 34 carries. He does have 27 catches for 237 yards and a TD. Funchess has become a key possession receiver with 24 catches for 269 yards and three TDs. On offense, the Panthers are averaging 327.2 yards per game (18th) and 98.6 yards per game on the ground. They are allowing just 274 yards (3rd), 194.2 passing yards per game (5th) and 79.8 rushing yards per game (7th).
- 3-7 ATS last 10 road games.
- 12-5-1 ATS last 19 in Week 6.
- 12-5 ATS last 17 in October.
Have to go with the better defense in this one. The Panthers are also the better 4-1 team, because they’ve beaten two good teams in the Lions and Patriots. It’s tough to go against Newton and Carolina right now.
Both teams have quality offenses and athletic quarterbacks. Newton is a better runner but Wentz can move well for big guy. The Eagles also have a lot of weapons in the passing game. Carolina is 4-0 Over last 4 in Week 6 and the Eagles are 13-3 Over their last 16 road games.