After the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants game wraps up, another member of the NFC East takes the field against the class of the NFC South. As clumped together as the NFC East is, this is a seemingly important game for the Eagles. At this point, I don’t know if I can safely provide a pick of who is going to win that division. It might come down to who sucks the least. The Dallas Cowboys have an excuse because they don’t have Tony Romo or Dez Bryant, which is of course their two best offensive players. The Eagles don’t have any excuses, Sam Bradford is healthy and so is DeMarco Murray, the two key players to their offense. Bradford is supposed to be that anyway. Last week against the Giants on SNF was the first time I was actually impressed with the Eagles all year long. I’m still not convinced about them or Bradford. I mean, this is still a team at .500 regardless of how well they played last week in their 27-7 win over the Giants. The week before that they put on a display against the Saints too, beating them 39-17.
Who are the Eagles? The team that lost to the Washington Redskins or the one that blew the Giants and Saints out. We’re going to get a real good idea how good they are tonight against the Carolina Panthers on SNF. I personally don’t have much confidence in Sam Bradford at the moment, but if he can go into Carolina and beat the Panthers then that is mighty impressive. It would make for a big statement win for Chip Kelly and the Eagles. I still believe Chip Kelly will be back coaching in college at some point, but lets see how this season pans out. He would have a lot of people believing in him if he can win this game tonight. It isn’t going to be easy against Cam Newton and the Panthers, who are fresh off a win over the Seattle Seahawks. Not only a win, but a win on the road in Seattle. The Panthers added to the Seahawks list of problems with that win. They now wish to help the Cowboys and Giants out in the NFC East with a win over the Eagles today. I see this as one of Sam Bradford’s most important starts of his career. Win this game against the Panthers and people might be willing to remove the bust tag.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Carolina Panthers NFL
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Eagles vs. Panthers Pick:
The Eagles have looked their best the last two weeks with their wins over the Saints and Giants. No disrespect to either team but they are not elite. One could debate if the Panthers are elite, but with a perfect 6-0 record and coming off a win against Seattle, they have my attention. There is good Sam Bradford and awful Sam Bradford. There is no in between with him. More often he is bad Bradford though, which could spell doom for him if he keeps it up. He doesn’t have many other chances. I always joke this guy has nine lives because he’s always injured or playing poorly. Now that he is healthy, Bradford is just playing bad football. They won last week, but in the process he threw 3 interceptions to just 1 touchdown. The only strong start he had come in the loss to the Redskins. Bradford has 9 touchdowns and 9 interceptions this season, with a rather unimpressive quarterback rating of 80.0.
Bradford could find some problems against a defense that is giving up only 18.8 points per game. They are also ranked 7th in total yardage allowed in the NFL. It’s a shame that Kelvin Benjamin had to blow his knee out for the Panthers, because I would have included them in the upper echelon of teams if he was healthy here. Certainly, it would have given their passing game a big boost. The ground game has been playing extremely well, rushing for 132.8 yards per game, 3rd in the NFL. Cam Newton has been playing some of the best football of his career and has passed for 7 touchdowns with 3 interceptions the last four weeks. He also added 3 rushing touchdowns. I have a lot of confidence in Newton on my side, not so much with Bradford. I had this game handicapped around -5 so I will gladly take -3 with the Panthers on SNF.
PICK: PANTHERS -3 (-110)