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Can the Eagles overcome Cam Newton and Sam Bradford on Sunday night?

Happy Friday. The Eagles look improved but can they keep it up?

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Each week Patrick and Dave discuss the week that was and will be. It's Two Guys Internetting Football!

Patrick: Okay, Dave, go ahead and say it. I know you want to gloat. After six games, it looks like you were right about Sam Bradford.

Dave: I'm not happy to be right. I would have loved to be wrong. Really. I would love to have a QB that is good enough to win a Super Bowl with. One that is good enough to win games when the offensive line can't get anything going. Or when the run game struggles. Or when the defense isn't playing well. Or when the coaches make mistakes. I don't really care who it is, I just want to win.

It's clear now that Bradford is nowhere near that guy. We're past the point of rust, past the point of getting used to new teammates and a new playbook. He's just plain bad. The Landon Collins interception was inexcusable, not just the physical throw but the decision to chuck it up in that situation.

I'd do an "I told you so" about not extending him before the season, but I can't help but feel like they're going to extend him. But that's for another day.

Today though... second straight week they've faced a solid run defense and looked good. Actually the Giants run defense was tremendous entering the game, and the Eagles performed well. DeMarco Murray looks healthy, and since Matt Tobin took over as starter the line has played better, though there is still room for improvement. This is very encouraging for Sunday against the Panthers and for the rest of the season.

Patrick: I actually think the Panthers and Giants present similar challenges. Both have good run defenses, quarterbacks who are playing pretty well, and questions at wide receiver. The difference, of course, comes from Carolina's pass defense. Josh Norman leads the league in interceptions, and you know he's licking his chops at the thought of playing Bradford this week.

That said, I'm not especially impressed with the Panthers. Yes, they're undefeated, and doing that in this league is hard. But here's who they've beaten: the Jaguars, Texans, Saints, Buccaneers and Seahawks. Seattle is the only team in that group that one could consider a legitimate team. Then again, you could also make the argument that the Eagles aren't legitimate.

But as you said, it was encouraging to see the Eagles have success running agains the Giants first-ranked run defense. Whatever was going on with Murray's hamstring looks to have subsided, and the line is finally coming together. Though Jason Kelce still looks like he's dealing with some mental stuff. He had an errant snap, and was adamant after the game that he needed to correct those lapses.

Dave: Kelce's been bad this year, he'll be the first one to tell you that, but I'm not worried. He's a very good player, and good players can have bad stretches. He's had to adjust to three new starters at the two positions next to him, so there's reason to believe that he will turn it around sooner rather than later.

Yeah the Panthers hadn't beaten anyone until last week.... and while the Seahawks are struggling this season, beating them in Seattle is still impressive. That was a good game, and the Panthers looked good doing it. Everyone knows Cam is looking for Olsen. Their WRs are so bad that you can stack the box and double team Olsen. And Seattle has multiple guys who can cover him. And yet he had a big day. But so did Russell Wilson and Jimmy Graham, even though Carolina has been really strong against tight ends, though Jimmy Graham is of course a freak. So I hope we see a lot of two tight end sets this week.

This game has many ingredients for a TRAP GAME for the Panthers.

-They just beat a tough opponent on the road in a game where everyone was really fired up, and heading into the game everyone was saying that they hadn't beat anyone. They could very well be extremely overconfident.
-Now they're at home, where trap games happen.
-It's a prime time game.
-The Eagles haven't been impressive.
-The Eagles are a good matchup, strength vs strength.
-On offense they're a one dimensional team.

It's not quite like the Jets game, because the Eagles looked really bad heading into that, but I would not at all be surprised to see the Panthers come out flat.

Patrick: This Eagles team is so hard to predict week to week; moreso than in recent years. I thought the Jets would steamroll the Eagles; they are the only blemish on New York's record. I thought the game against the Giants would be close and it wasn't. So who the hell knows this week.

That said, you're absolutely right about the trap game elements. You certainly never want to count on that (and how many times to the Eagles get a win because the other team wasn't prepared?) but it's not out of the realm of possibility.

The thing that excites me the most about this game is the possibility for turnovers. Malcolm Jenkins said last week that the Eagles look for three per game, and they've been getting them recently. If Mychal Kendricks can come back and help improve that middle linebacking corps, there might not be many opportunities for Olsen. That means Cam could try forcing things to Kelvin Benjamin Devin Funchess or whichever guys they trot out.

Frankly, the key to every game for the rest of the season will be Bradford cutting down on turnovers. If the offensive line continues playing better, this team can win games without Bradford throwing for 350 yards and three touchdowns. He just can't throw boneheaded picks into deep center field.

Dave: Yeah I'm not counting on a trap game, but I can see the first quarter going the Eagles way for those reasons, and then it just snowballs. Oh who am I kidding, the first quarter is going to be 3 and outs for the Eagles offense because of Bradford. I expect a low scoring game and those can be beautiful, but this could very easily be an ugly game for both teams. As you said the Eagles are focusing on and doing a great job at getting turnovers, and the Panthers get their fair share too with 11 in 5 games, and Bradford is good for at least one. I like the Eagles to win because they're a more complete team (would anyone be surprised if special teams was the difference in this one?) but I don't feel confident about it.

Patrick: For whatever reason, I'm much more confident about this game than a) I was about last week, and b) I have any right to be. Until he proves otherwise, I'm finished saying "I think this is the week Bradford turns it around," and I believe it even more this week against a good pass defense.

And another point about trap games - with an undefeated record comes confidence, and a win in Seattle last week could prove to be the Panthers' undoing. But it could just as easily give them the juice to say, "Yeah, we're down 20-10. But we're undefeated, and at home, and we beat Seattle last week. Let's do this." This is a tough one to pick for me, but a win, be it pretty or ugly, would tell me a lot about this Eagles squad.