The Carolina Panthers will be bidding for the first 6-0 start in franchise history when they play host to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night. The Panthers answered questions about the relative strength of their early-season schedule by scoring a pair of touchdowns in the final 3:55 in a come-from-behind victory at Seattle last weekend.
“This was one of the bigger victories that we have had since I have been here,” Carolina coach Ron Rivera said after his club erased a nine-point deficit in the 27-23 win. “One of the things that stood out was the resiliency.” The Panthers have a score to settle with the Eagles after absorbing a 45-21 drubbing at Philadelphia last season. The Eagles stumbled out of the gate with three losses in their first four games but are coming off impressive lopsided victories over New Orleans and the New York Giants to move into a tie atop the NFC East. “We have a long way to go but we know where we want to be at,” running back DeMarco Murray said.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC.
LINE HISTORY: Books opened Carolina as a 3.5-point home fave, but that has moved to -3. The total is down to 45.5. from 46.5.
Eagles – LB Mychal Kendricks (Probable, hamstring), WR Riley Cooper (Questionable, knee), DE Brandon Blair (Questionable, groin), LB DeMeco Ryans (Questionable, hamstring), LB Kiko Alonso (Doubtful, knee), WR Nelson Agholor (Doubtful, ankle), T Andrew Gardner (I-R, foot), K Cody Parkey (I-R, groin), LB Travis Long (I-R, knee), C David Molk (I-R, bicep), DB JaCorey Shepherd (I-R, knee).
Panthers – DT Dwan Edwards (Questionable, ankle), T Daryl Williams (Questionable, knee), LB A.J. Klein (Questionable, concussion), LB Jared Allen (Questionable, back), LB Shaq Thompson (Questionable, knee), DE Frank Alexander (Out for season, Achilles), TE Richie Brockel (I-R, hamstring), DE Charles Johnson (I-R, hamstring), T Nate Chandler (I-R, knee), DE Arthur Miley (I-R, knee), WR Kelvin Benjamin (I-R, knee).
WEATHER: Temperatures in the mid-60s with a 21 percent chance of rain.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Eagles (-2) + Panthers (-3) + home field (-3) = Panthers -4
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “Sam Bradford has thrown three red zone interceptions in the last two weeks; not exactly ?QB of the Future? material for Chip Kelly and the Eagles braintrust. There?s no other word to describe Cam Newton?’s performance at Seattle other than ?clutch?, as he led the team on a pair of 80 yard TD drives with the clock winding down in the 4th quarter.” Covers Expert Teddy Covers.
ABOUT THE EAGLES (3-3 SU, 3-3 ATS, 1-5 O/U): Murray had an ugly start to his career in Philadelphia by rushing for 11 yards on 21 carries in the first two games, but he ran for 112 yards last week and scored a touchdown for the second straight contest. Quarterback Sam Bradford continues to struggle, throwing a season-worst three interceptions last week – his fourth game with multiple picks – to boost his season total to nine. Philadelphia’s defense, which has forced 16 turnovers, has registered eight of its 14 sacks in the past two weeks while limiting the Giants to 247 total yards.
ABOUT THE PANTHERS (5-0 SU, 4-1 ATS, 3-1-1 O/U): Carolina beat Seattle at its own game by putting together four 80-yard touchdown drives as Newton overcame a pair of interceptions to throw for 269 yards and one TD while running for another score. Jonathan Stewart is coming off a season-high 78 yards and his first two rushing scores while tight end Greg Olsen has three touchdowns, 17 interceptions and a pair of 100-yard games in his last three. Pro Bowl middle linebacker Luke Kuechly returned from a concussion last week for a defense that is yielding only 338.0 yards per game.
* Over is 4-0 in the last four meetings.
* Eagles are 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings.
* Eagles are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games in Week 7.
* Panthers are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games in October.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Fifty-seven percent of Covers users are backing the Panthers.