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NFL Betting: Panthers vs. Eagles Monday Night Football Preview

Posted by Stan Jenkins on 11/10/2014 11:40:49 AM

The Carolina Panthers have steadily slid downhill in recent weeks, while the Philadelphia Eagles no longer have their starting quarterback available to play. This game could get weird.

Carolina Panthers @ Philadelphia Eagles – Monday, November 10

These teams find themselves in weird positions. The Panthers actually started off the season well, and they also found a period of a few games in which their offense played well. Carolina was supposed to struggle on offense this season because of the loss of longtime receiver Steve Smith. However, the Panthers watched rookie Kelvin Benjamin, from defending college football national champion Florida State, develop into one of the top rookies in the NFL at any position. The Panthers have been inconsistent on offense this season, but they haven’t been completely flat. It’s the defense which has been a letdown for the Panthers, a team that won the NFC South and gained a first-round playoff bye last season because they were able to shut down opponents.

In two consecutive games, the Panthers gave up 37 points (Cincinnati) and 38 points (Green Bay). The defense absolutely collapsed, and the offense actually did well to forge a tie with Cincinnati on the road. The past two weeks, the offense has been terrible, scoring just nine points (Seattle) and 10 points (New Orleans), but the larger point to make about the Panthers this year is that they’ve been all over the place on both offense and defense. Head coach Ron Rivera doesn’t know what to make of his team right now. He doesn’t know what to expect each week for better or worse. The Panthers lack an identity, and that’s something they want to change in a good way and for good reasons in the coming weeks, starting with this game.

The Eagles have an identity under head coach Chip Kelly, but that identity is getting threatened this week for a very obvious reason. Nick Foles, who used to be a backup, became a starter when he filled in for the injured Michael Vick last season. Kelly was able to bring along Foles and turn him into a reliable quarterback. Now, though, Foles is the starter who is injured, and the backup is not someone a lot of football fans trust.

Mark Sanchez has actually known some good days in his playing career. He did get to a pair of AFC Championship Game events with the New York Jets. He didn’t win either game, but he showed composure in AFC divisional playoff wins in each of those seasons (in 2009 over the San Diego Chargers, in 2010 over the New England Patriots). Sanchez, though, had a simple game plan to work with in New York. He is entrusted with a lot more in Philadelphia with Kelly. Sanchez did okay in filling in for Foles this past Sunday in Houston in a win against the Texans, but now he’s going to have to face the pressure of being the starter, the player who will have a lot to handle in terms of responsibilities and expectations.

This game could go either way, but based on the Eagles’ ability to win with Sanchez in Houston against a solid defense, Philadelphia should be able to manage here.

Pick: Eagles -7

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