This game will be a tough test for the Eagles. The Panthers have been hitting their stride lately and Cam Newton is looking good.
If you’re feeling worried about this game, today’s post might have you feeling a little better about the Eagles’ chances.
Bleeding Green Nation already took some time to chat with Cat Scratch Reader on Tuesday in order to preview this week’s matchup.
Today, we're back with three reasons why each team might lose. This format forces us to consider each team's weaknesses, rather than just think of why each team is awesome.
So here are three reasons why the Panthers could lose, as written by CSR’s Bradley Smith. Check out Cat Scratch Reader to see why I think the Eagles could lose.
The Panthers struggled running the football last week against the Lions, gaining a paltry 28 yards on 28 carries. If not for Cam Newton’s 28/33, 355 yards, 3 touchdowns performance the Panthers would most likely be 3-2 instead of 4-1 right now. How does this come into play for Thursday night? Well, Newton is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and this game is on a short week, so Newton may not be fully rested and have the same ability in his shoulder that he had against Detroit.
Wide receiver Devin Funchess - who has scored three touchdowns in his last two games - tweaked his knee on Sunday and has missed practice this week leading up to Thursday night’s clash. Newton will need Funchess in the lineup as a secondary option to Kelvin Benjamin, who has been dealing with a sore knee of his own for the last few weeks. Without Greg Olsen in the lineup, Newton doesn’t have his favorite security blanket on the field and has had to rely on Ed Dickson to fill that void.
With a group of receivers nursing sore knees and a tight end who had more receiving yards last week than he has in any season since signing with Carolina as the primary receiving options, the Panthers will have to find a way to generate offense on the ground. If the Eagles can shut down the Panthers running game and force them to be one-dimensional through the air, they have a much higher chance of leaving Charlotte with a win.
The Panthers secondary is banged up and is missing their best player (S Kurt Coleman), so if Carson Wentz can find enough time to get the ball down the field, the Eagles could pose a problem for the Panthers on defense.
Both starting cornerbacks - James Bradberry and Daryl Worley - missed practice on Tuesday, and while it could be precautionary it’s something to worry about if you’re a Panthers fan. The Panthers have a severe lack of depth in the secondary and if Bradberry or Worley is unable to go on Thursday night it could be a huge problem.
The front seven is one of the best in the league so if the pass rush is able to get to Wentz, the issues in the secondary can be mitigated somewhat, but if the Eagles’ offensive line is able to give Wentz adequate time to throw the ball deep, the Panthers could be in for a long night.
The Panthers have a tendency to let teams come back on them late in the game after building up a substantial lead. Over the last two weeks, the Panthers have allowed 28 points in the 4th quarter (14 to NE and 14 to DET) while only scoring 10 points themselves (10 at NE).
Panthers fans have grown accustomed to the game never being over regardless of the score. The bend but don’t break philosophy will catch up to the Panthers eventually, so if they do happen to jump out to a decent lead in the first three quarters of the game it’s possible that their luck will finally run out.