This game is set up for a Panthers win. The Eagles will be missing (arguably) their two best players in this game, as the Panthers will go in pretty healthy, if you don't count that Chris Gamble, Jon Beason, and Ryan Kalil are on Injured Reserve. That being said, the Panthers aren't really rolling into this game with any notable injuries, aside from Antwan Applewhite missing another consecutive game. The Panthers have played a few of these games where the cards were stacked in our favor, and still managed to lose, so it remains to be seen which team gets the all to elusive W here.
The first key match-up is like looking through a mirror.
It could be a long day for the rookie 5th round pick out of Purdue. Of all the cogs in the Carolina Panthers roster that can't really turn consistently, Charles Johnson has been pretty consistent as a pass rusher. The Panthers will need to get after Nick Foles, as Jeremy Maclin and Desean Jackson could easily burn Captain Munnerlyn and his much slower counter-part Josh Norman on almost any given play.
On paper, the Eagles SHOULD try to get the run game going early. But if you know Andy Reid like I do, you know he probably will want to throw the ball. Living in the Philly/NJ area for some time, you really can't go a day without hearing Andy Reid's name (and a few derogatory remarks along with it) at least once.
On the other side, the Panthers' offensive line has only been slightly better than the Eagles' line. This game could turn into a sack fest if Jordan Gross and Byron Bell can't hold off Jason Babin and Trent Cole. Cam's been notorious this year for being indecisive in the pocket, and he could see his fair share of lumps if Gross can't hold off Trent Cole, especially with Steve Smith battling Nnamdi Asomugha all day.
Nnamdi Asomugha vs. Steve Smith
Let me start this off by saying that Brandon LaFell might not have a whole lot of success against D.R. Cromartie. The Panthers really have yet to face a team with the caliber (on paper) cornerbacks of the Eagles. Steve Smith andGreg Olsen will both really need to step up to see success in the passing game, as the running game will be difficult to get started against a stout Eagles defensive line. Smith shouldn't have as much trouble with the Eagles safeties, as they have been almost nonexistent when it comes to deep plays in many of the games.
Graham Gano vs. The Goal Post
Medlock lost his job due to some missed field goals in crucial situations. In this game, the Panthers will probably have trouble in the redzone, and Gano will need to be making some field goals in order to have success. Graham, we need you buddy, don't let us down.