The Panthers allegedly have a slight advantage in this one by virtue of being the home team, but you never know what will happen on Thursday Night Football. With both teams being 4-1 and what we could consider ‘pretty good’, this is a game that is truly up for grabs.
To get an idea of how the Panthers could emerge victorious on Thursday night, I spoke with Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation to get his thoughts on the Eagles’ weaknesses that could cause them to lose. Below are his thoughts on how the Panthers can beat the Eagles on Thursday night.
Also, be sure to head over to Bleeding Green Nation for my three reasons the Panthers could lose to the Eagles.
Why the Eagles will lose to the Panthers
The potential absence of Eagles starting right tackle looms large in this week’s matchup. Johnson suffered a concussion in Philadelphia’s Week 5 game. It’s unlikely he’s able to pass through the league’s mandatory protocol in time to play on Thursday evening.
Johnson makes a dramatic difference for this Eagles team. They are 9-2 in their last 11 games when he’s started for Philly. They are 2-8, meanwhile, when Johnson has not played. Johnson ranks as one of the best pass blocking offensive tackles in the league this year and he’s also really good in the run game.
Carson Wentz has been playing well this season. He obviously deserves a lot of credit for his success, but there’s no question Philly’s offensive line and running game have helped him out. Being without Johnson will hinder the team’s ability to protect Wentz.
It’s unclear whether Fletcher Cox will play in this game. If he doesn’t suit up, that’ll be another big loss for Philadelphia. Here’s a stat that ESPN revealed before the Eagles’ Week 5 game against the Cardinals:
With Cox on the field this season (100 snaps), the Eagles have allowed 4.8 yards per play. With him off the field (129 snaps), they've allowed 7.3 yards per play.
The Eagles need Cox in order to get pressure on Cam Newton and limit what the Carolina quarterback is able to do. Newton has really been heating up lately so Philadelphia’s defense will be majorly tested in this matchup. The Eagles have some issues in that secondary that can be covered up with a good pass rush. Cox potentially being out would hurt the Eagles in that area.
I just think this game is a tough spot for the Eagles. Having to play on the road typically isn’t easy. Having to play on the road in a Thursday night game is even more difficult.
One of the things Doug Pederson really deserves credit for this season is having his team ready to play. Philadelphia consistently looks well-prepared every week. I worry that that could change given the fact the Eagles will have less time to plan for this game. I know it’s a short week for the Panthers as well, but they don’t have to worry about the travel element.
Maybe this factor is overrated since four out of five road teams have won on Thursday night this season. I just feel like the Panthers are hitting their stride and the Eagles could’ve used some more time to prepare for this one. We’ll see how it goes on Thursday night.