Wentz vs. Newton

NFC Game Of The Week

Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers

Eagles: A few weeks ago, I was asked who was I impressed with the most so far at this point of the season and I said two teams: The Los Angeles Rams and these Philadelphia Eagles. They are off to one of their best starts in seven years and I’ve been so pleased with the way that Carson Wentz has played in his second season. He’s spread the ball around to each receiver and doesn’t really have that go-to guy if you really think about it. Whoever’s open will end up getting the football. They’ve finally been able to run the ball and LeGarrette Blount is looking comfortable within their offensive scheme now and they’ve made more of an effort to get him involved more. I’ll be the first to tell you that I didn’t see this football team getting off to such a strong start and that’s the beauty of the NFC East, you simply just don’t know what you’re going to get and right now, this is their division to run away with. Dallas is struggling, the Giants are gigantically awful and the Redskins are just, well, they are just the Redskins. At 4-1, they’re just looking to get better each week and they’ll look for a statement win tonight against another team that has really been impressive as well.

Panthers: They won a total of six games all of last year and didn’t get their second win of the season until game eight in 2016. This year, they’re 4-1 and on top of the NFC South and they’re coming off two really big wins on the road against the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots in week four and the Detroit Lions in week five. What’s been the improvement so far? First, it’s the offensive line finally playing together for a change. They’ve established the dominant trend in their favor and they’re physical up front along with allowing Cam Newton time to throw the football from the pocket. Secondly, Cam has control of the offense once again and the last time I saw him play this way and he was focused, he ended up winning some award called the league’s MVP. Since Greg Olsen has been down, the offense as a whole has really stepped it up and he’s been able to spread the football around. Their defense has also improved from last season as well. The secondary is grounded and more disciplined and the front seven is still one of the tops in the league. This is a big game for them with the Eagles in town for Thursday Night Football.

Eagles Player To Watch: Rodney McLeod– He’s a versatile guy that can do it all. He tackles in space, gets after the ball in coverage, With the Panthers wanting to attack the middle of the field and occasionally go deep, he’ll have to be aware of any of those weapons heading in his direction.

Panthers Player To Watch: Kawann Short– This is a very good defensive line and this guy goes unnoticed at times. He’s great at stopping the run and can rush the passer. In the game today, you’re seeing more pass rushers from the interior. He’ll have to help in bringing down both Wentz and Blount.

Final Analysis: This is a battle of two surprising division leaders. In the two weeks that I’ve watched Cam, his arm strength has come back and he has more zip on his passes. The key for Carolina is which Cam will we see? Just regular Cam or SuperCam? The Panthers corners also need to be at their best with these receivers they’ll be facing. If I’m Philly, they need to get pressure on the quarterback early, often and consistently.

Prediction: Panthers 28 Eagles 20