Bleeding Green Nation already took some time to chat with Cat Scratch Reader in order to preview this week’s Philadelphia Eagles versus Carolina Panthers matchup. (You can read that here.) 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 being homers.
So, below are three reasons why the Panthers could lose, as written by Cat Scratch Reader’s Walker Clement. To see why I think the Eagles could lose, check out CSR.
1. The Panthers lack aggression.
It’s as simple as that. They might build up a small lead, say 10 points or so, but then they’ll relax into soft coverage shells and run the ball on 98% of their offensive snaps. The Eagles will have every opportunity they need to get back in the game if they find themselves in a hole. Factor in that Rivera seems to actively prefer punting or attempting field goals instead of keeping a drive alive (and risking a touchdown) on fourth and short from just about anywhere on the field, and the Eagles will always be in a position to beat the Panthers.
2. Wendell Smallwood is in for a career day.
The Panthers have a history of giving up big games to second tier running backs. Last week was the rare time that Adrian Peterson -or any other premier back- had a big day against us and even he didn’t top 100 yards rushing. The Panthers’ defensive line will continue to struggle to control the line of scrimmage which will allow the Eagles to scheme plays away from their linebackers. Expect Smallwood to be able to find space when he needs it and you can probably go ahead and bet on a few ‘unexpected’ highlight plays as well.
3. The last reason the Panthers will lose is chaos.
The first few games of a season are always weird and help teams figure out who they actually are. In the Panthers case, the first three games of 2018 were relatively plain. They apparently then figured out that they are a team of unmitigated shenaniganry. Six crazy turnovers, that have been split evenly for and against the team, and a whole lot of special decision making on special teams later and this team is impossible to predict. To me, that translates to a win for the more consistent team. You can’t expect to beat the Giants every week on a last second, 63-yard field goal.