Monday Night Football game day is here. The Eagles (6-2) are finally back in Philadelphia after having not played a game at home since October 12. That game, of course, was when the Birds shutout the New York Giants by a score of 27-0. While Philadelphia wore their all-black jerseys that night, this time the team will debut their new Nike midnight green uniforms.
The Eagles will take the field on Monday night against a Carolina Panthers team (3-5-1) that has looked far from impressive this season. The Panthers were near the top of the NFC in 2013 but haven't come close to looking like that same team. Carolina only has one win in their last seven games and the team has lost three matches in a row. They also owned the NFL's seventh worst point differential heading into this weekend.
But while Philadelphia appears to be the clear favorites in this one, they aren't without their concerns. The fractured collarbone injury sustained by starting quarterback Nick Foles means that veteran backup Mark Sanchez will take over under center. Sanchez played relatively well for coming off the bench cold but he will need to cut down on the turnovers in order for Philadelphia to win moving forward. Really, it's time for the whole team to take better care of the ball. Heading into this weekend, the Eagles led the league in turnovers. They've been hurting themselves with self-inflicted wounds.
One way to cut down on those mistakes is rely on the three-headed monster of LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles, and Chris Polk. A rejuvenated run game, thanks to the return of offensive line starters Evan Mathis and Jason Kelce, will mean taking the ball out of Sanchez's hands more often. This trio of running backs should be able to terrorize Carolina's 26th-ranked run defense.
Speaking of defense, the Eagles obviously took a big hit last week with the season-ending Achilles injury suffered by DeMeco Ryans. It won't be easy for them to replace the veteran leader. With that said, the combination of Casey Matthews, Emmanuel Acho, and Marcus Smith II was arguably passable when Mychal Kendricks was out due to injury. It's far from an ideal situation but Philadelphia should be able to get by on defense. Carolina is only gaining 3.7 yards per rush attempt and talented quarterback Cam Newton is only completing 57.4% of his passes. Rookie wideout Kelvin Benjamin has made some eye-popping catches but he also makes his fair share of mistakes in the forms of drops and penalties for pushing off.
It's hard not to predict an Eagles win. As I pointed out earlier, the Eagles are 8-0 in their last eight regular season home games. The Birds have outscored their opponents 268-147 in that span, an average of 33.5 to 18.4 per game. Philadelphia should be able to win comfortably.
What do you think? Will the Eagles come out on top?
Bold prediction: LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles, and Chris Polk all score at least one touchdown