Despite being 4-1 with their only loss coming to an undefeated Kansas City Chiefs team, there seems to be a lot of Eagles doubters this week. They’re matched up against a hot Carolina Panthers team that is coming off of a few impressive wins over the Detroit Lions and New England Patriots. With a Thursday night matchup, both teams are coming off of short weeks.
In a non-homer standpoint, this game can honestly be decided on a flip of a coin.
Below are some keys I believe could help the Eagles win this football game.
1. Keep the Run Game Rolling
Perhaps one of the biggest differences on the Eagles squad this season is the success on the ground. With even losing veteran Darren Sproles for the season and Smallwood as of late, the Eagles are thriving.
LeGarrette Blount has found himself as a top 10 rusher in the league with limited carries. His 5.8 yards per carry is good for 6th in the league.
The Panthers rank in the top 10 when defending the run, so this will be no easy task.
2. Protect Wentz
This is to you, Big V.
After Lane Johnson was suspended last season, the collapse began. Fast forward just over a year later and the Eagles are without their prominent Right Tackle again due to a concussion suffered in Sundays win over the Cardinals.
The Eagles are just 2-8 over the last 2yrs without Lane playing. That needs to change for the better tonight.
3. Contain Cam on the Ground
Thus far in the 2017-18 season, the Eagles have done a great job at containing the rush. The Birds rank a top the league in doing so, holding opposing teams to under 4 yards a carry. This week though, they’re faced with a different beast.
When Cam gets going on his feet, things can turn for the worse. It’s important the Eagles get to the 6’5ft QB quickly while also containing any runs up the middle or around either side when doing so.
4. Don’t Sleep on McCaffrey
The birds faced a similar player in Andre Ellington on Sunday and performed pretty well. Some may say the rookie out of Stanford poses a much bigger threat though.
Although McCaffrey has been lackluster in the run game, he has been lighting it up when it comes to receiving out of the backfield. Bradham, Hicks, and the Eagles LB core will have their hands full this week.
5. Go Deep
As advertised in the win over Arizona on Sunday, the deep ball is thriving. With a poor and banged up Carolina secondary, it’s important Wentz and the Eagles offense highlight this weakness and execute on it.
The Panthers have allowed 7 throwing touchdowns this season with only a mere 1int. They also have allowed a 69.8% completion rate which is good enough for bottom 5 in the league.
Jordan is the founder of Sports Are Philly and a current student at Misericordia University.
You can follow him on Twitter @darealjlaw.