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Panthers vs. Eagles 2015: Five matchups to watch

Here's what to watch for.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles are scheduled to play the undefeated Carolina Panthers tonight. It's a big test for the Birds. Here are the five things that deserve extra attention in this matchup.

1) Struggling Sam Bradford versus Carolina's strong pass defense

Sam Bradford threw three interceptions in his most recent performance. His struggles are due to both poor decisions and bad execution. The latter is especially concerning because his accuracy looks especially awful at times. Bradford is making routine throws look much harder than they have to be. It's very concerning to see Bradford having to go up against a Panthers defense that ranks as second best in the league per Football Outsiders. Carolina cornerback Josh Norman has four picks this season and he could be primed to add to that total tonight.

2) The Panthers' run-happy offense versus Philadelphia's run-stopping defense

No team runs the ball more often than the Panthers. Carolina is averaging nearly 33 rush attempts per game. A lot of that comes from formidable running back Jonathan Stewart, but quarterback Cam Newton is obviously a mobile threat as well. The good news for the Eagles is that they match up well against the run. Philadelphia allows the second least yards per rush attempt at 3.5. Stopping the run will force Newton to move the ball through the air.

3) The Eagles' improving run game

Speaking of running the football, that's something the Eagles have done much better in recent weeks after really struggling to start the season. With the Panthers so good at defending against the pass, and Bradford struggling, the Eagles should really look to pound the rock in this game. Chip Kelly spent a lot of money on DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews. This is the time to prove that those additions were worth the cost. The Eagles need to take the ball out of Bradford's hands and instead rely on the rushing attack.

4) Philadelphia's pass rush against Cam Newton

Newton was sacked by the Eagles a total of nine times last year. It seems safe to say that won't happen again. Newton is healthier now than he was last season when he was coming off an ankle injury. The Eagles did a good job of getting pressure on Eli Manning on Monday night. Getting to him and forcing him into bad decisions is imperative. Look for thel return of Mychal Kendricks to give the Eagles' pass rush a boost.

5) Jordan Matthews

The second-year receiver has been quiet in recent weeks. Too quiet. Matthews has only scored one touchdown this season, and that was a garbage time reception in Week 2. Many will remember that Matthews had a big game against the Panthers last year. The Eagles could certainly use a repeat performance in this spot. Philadelphia will be without rookie Nelson Agholor. Riley Cooper might play but he's clearly not 100% after missing practice for most of the week. Matthews really needs to step up.