The Eagles had the look of a completely dead team in a 31-6 annihilation at the hands of the Redskins last week, and now this 3-7 team that is four points away from being 0-10 will most likely be without both Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy for this game.
The Panthers (2-8) played good defensively for 59 minutes last week, only to give up the tying touchdown with 12 seconds left and lose 27-21 in overtime to the red-hot Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
1. Why Carolina will cover the spread: Carolina will cover this spread if it can maintain its defensive intensity for 60 minutes. This team has improved a lot defensively since earlier in the season, but it has been unable to hold late leads vs. the likes of the Buccaneers, Bears, Cowboys and Falcons in recent games. We suspect that a similar defensive effort should be more sustainable in this game vs. a Philadelphia team that does not figure to have too much fight if facing a late deficit.
2. Why Philadelphia will cover the spread: One key to a Philadelphia cover here is improved passing defense. Sure the Eagles rank 13th in the NFL in passing defense over the entire season at 220.7 yards per game, but in a sign that the Eagles have given up, the secondary blew coverages all game long vs. Washington last week as Robert Griffin III had practically a perfect game against the Eagles, completing 14-of-15 passes for 200 yards and four touchdowns. Just imagine what kind of numbers Griffin could have put up if the Skins did not rein him in with a huge lead! A second key for an Eagles cover is quarterback Nick Foles and running back Bryce Brown playing well in place of Vick and McCoy respectively.
3. Total Talk: It is impossible to give an opinion on this total without knowing what the number is, but as you can see by our projected score below we forecast 41 total points for this game so you can take it from there. We are much more interested in what the point spread will be here, as we firmly believe that the Panthers to win this game and we highly suspect that they will be small underdogs even with the Eagles’ injuries. We look for Cam Newton to find Steve Smith often vs. a discombobulated Philadelphia defense and for the Carolina defense to keep the Eagle backups at arm’s length throughout.
4. Betting Trends for the game: The Panthers are 6-2 ATS in their last eight road games including 3-1 ATS on the road this season with the lone loss coming as a road favorite at Tampa Bay back on opening week, and Carolina is 5-1 ATS in its last six games vs. teams with losing records. The Eagles are 3-13-1 ATS in their last 17 games following an ATS loss.
Carolina 24 – Philadelphia 17
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