Another 4-1 week for us here at The Sports Geek with our Week 5 selections, and we’re officially rolling. I am now 8-2 over the past two weeks of NFL action and hopefully things can stay the same as we approach a very intriguing Week 6 slate of match-ups.
Perhaps the most intriguing of all happens on Thursday night, as the Philadelphia Eagles take their high-flying act to do battle with an NFC opponent in the Carolina Panthers. After a bit of a sluggish beginning for Cam Newton, the former MVP looks excellent once again and his offense is buzzing. Meanwhile, the Eagles’ attack is no joke. Carson Wentz is putting new meaning into the term ‘Wentzylvania’ and he has surprised everyone with how well he is commanding the Philly attack.
This promises to be an excellent match-up between two teams that look playoff-bound and perhaps to go deep. A lot of these recent TNF match-ups have been complete duds, but expect stellar showings from both squads in such a pivotal game. As always, we’ve got a winning selection below the odds, as well as a full game breakdown and analysis. Let’s get Week 6 started off right!
Eagles vs. Panthers Betting Odds:
Philadelphia Eagles +3 (-110)
@ Carolina Panthers -3 (-110)
Over 45 (-110)
Under 45 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Eagles vs. Panthers Pick:
The Eagles are a completely different team without Lane Johnson. The All-Pro right tackle is simply a beast and provides as good of protection as anybody in that spot in the entire NFL. Last year, with Johnson – Philly managed a stellar 5-1 record. Without him, they went 2-8, as Wentz would often struggle delivering the ball with little time, space, and protection.
Unfortunately for Philly tonight, Lane Johnson will not be in the lineup – and as a result, look for the Carolina Panthers to feast on Wentz. Mario Addison is one of the better edge rushers in the NFC, and should be able to easily win his new matchup. Julius Peppers and Kawaan Short will also find themselves in easier spots without Johnson, and it’ll be rapidly apparent that this isn’t the Carson Wentz we’ve seen so far in 2017.
Finally, the connection that has worked most of late for Wentz has been to his top target, tight end Zach Ertz. Unfortunately for him the Panthers boast a solid crew of linebackers, and together they just clamp down on the TE position and allow very little production. This should throw Wentz’s gameplan awry and fully take him out of his comfort zone. Though the young QB has looked solid in his first five outings – Week 6 should be very different against a tough Panthers stop unit.
For the Panthers, the Cam Newton train is rolling once again! When Newton plays like he has the past couple of weeks, it is just so fun. He looks unstoppable at the moment and though the Eagles’ D has a lot of nice pieces, Newton and Co. should be able to keep the chains moving on Thursday night. This is mostly because of another huge Eagles injury – defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. Cox is highly questionable for this contest, and without him look for Philly to struggle to get to Newton, while also leaving a gaping hole to defend against the run.
The past two weeks Newton has just torched the secondaries of both Detroit and New England. Both these teams have better corners than Philly does – a bad omen for the Eagles as they prepare for this contest. Look for big games from Carolina’s big receivers – Devin Funchess and Kelvin Benjamin. The duo should feast on easy matchups downfield and across the middle on Thursday night.
While I do think Philadelphia is still the better team when fully healthy, the statuses of Cox and Johnson are huge downgrades. Add in the fact they’re playing on the road on a short week, and going up against a scary-looking Cam Newton – and the odds are stacked against the Eagles. Look for Wentz to struggle and Cam to just keep on rolling, as the Panthers defend their homefield and move to the top of the NFC.
PICK = Panthers -3 (-110)