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Eagles vs. Panthers 2015: Game Predictions

It's Eagles-Panthers game day. Who are you taking to win?

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles have a big game tonight against the Carolina Panthers. Philadelphia has managed to win three out of their four last games after starting the season in an 0-2 hole. The Eagles are amazingly in first place of the NFC East and have a chance to get above .500 with a win on Sunday Night Football.

Of course, it won't be easy. The Panthers are 5-0. It's true that the Panthers don't have a lot of quality wins. They beat the Jaguars, the Texans, the Saints without Drew Brees, the Buccaneers, and the Seahawks. Seattle is the best win out of that bunch, and the Seahawks could easily be 2-5 if not for that blown calls in their victory over the Lions. Definitely give credit to the Panthers for beating teams they should beat, but this team doesn't seem to be on the level of other undefeated teams such as the Patriots and Packers.

Still, the Panthers will be provide a tough test for the Eagles. Philadelphia's offense has shown signs of progress in recent weeks. But one significant area where the Eagles are still struggling is the passing attack. Sam Bradford is turning the ball over way too often. The quarterback threw three interceptions against the Giants. He is seriously struggling with accuracy issues. He's failing to make easy completions at times. Couple Bradford's struggles with the fact that the Panthers' pass defense ranks near the top of the NFL and it's a big concern.

The good news for the Eagles is that the Panthers are a little more vulnerable against the run. Their run defense allows the 18th most yards per attempt and ranks 18th overall by Football Outsiders. Philadelphia's offensive line and, subsequently, the run game have looked a lot better. DeMarco Murray finished with his first 100+ yard rushing performance last week. The Eagles will need to rely on Murray, Ryan Mathews, and Darren Sproles to get going on the ground in order to score.

On the other side of the all, the Eagles' defense is playing at a very high level right now. The unit coached by defensive coordinator Bill Davis ranks No. 3 overall by Football Outsiders. The Eagles match up well with Carolina's offensive strength: running the ball. The Panthers lead the league in rushing attempts so Philadelphia's strong run defense will be tested here. Keeping Cam Newton in check as both a runner and passer will also be a big challenge. The Eagles sacked Newton a whopping nine times last season when these two teams played but they obviously won't be able to count on that again.

The Eagles' defense is legit. They should be able to handle the Panthers' offense and keep the game within reach. Philadelphia's offense is much more concerning. Will they be able to score against Carolina's defense? Things could get ugly if Bradford continues to turn the ball over like he has to this point.

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My predictions:

Score prediction: 21-17, Eagles lose.
Bold prediction: Sam Bradford doesn't throw an interception.

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