This isn’t one of the premier Sunday matchups in Week 5, as the Eagles (1-3) have been underwhelming and the Panthers (3-1) are coming off a bad loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
Moreover, both these teams are banged up in a lot of key positions. The biggest star in this game, Christian McCaffrey, is still day-to-day with a hamstring injury and could miss a second straight week.
However, as sports investors, we don’t care about the entertainment level of a given game. We’re searching for value, and there’s plenty of that in this one.
Let’s dive into our best bets for this matchup in the latest installment of our NFL pick of the day series.
Please note that all Eagles vs Panthers odds are current as of Friday, October 8.
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Eagles vs Panthers Prediction
The Panthers losing rookie cornerback Jaycee Horn to a broken foot is unfortunate, as the first-rounder had impressed in the first few games of his NFL career. However, it’s not as big of a loss as it might seem.
The Panthers generally grade out well in coverage, but the strength of this team is in the front seven. Carolina blitzes at the highest rate in the league (41.7%), and is producing the most pressure as a result (37.8%). Right now, Carolina ranks seventh in PFF’s pressure grades, while posting Football Outsiders’ highest adjusted sack rate (13.9%).
This Panthers team is physical at the point of attack, and missing Horn shouldn’t matter as much considering the blitz-heavy scheme. While Dallas shredded Matt Rhule’s defense in Week 4, Carolina should match up much better with the Philadelphia offense this Sunday.
Part of that is because the Eagles are missing two starting offensive linemen, Jordan Mailata and Brandon Brooks, while tackle Lane Johnson is also dealing with an injury. While Dallas ranks first in the NFL in adjusted line yards, the banged-up Eagles rank 22nd, so the Panthers should be able to stop the run and easily produce pressure on the quarterback this time around.
That’s going to bode well against Jalen Hurts, who currently ranks 31st among eligible quarterbacks in adjusted completion percentage when pressured. The Eagles could try to go to the ground, as they rank fourth in Sharp Football Stats’ rush success rate, but the Panthers rank seventh on the defensive side of that stat.
On the other side of the ball, the Eagles’ defense showed no ability to slow down the Kansas City Chiefs last week and with defensive end Brandon Graham out for the season, Philadelphia might have trouble slowing a revitalized Sam Darnold too.
I like the Panthers to shut down the Eagles and win comfortably this week.
Prediction: Panthers 20, Eagles 10
Eagles vs Panthers Best Bets
Best Bet: Panthers -3 (-113 at Unibet)
The Eagles’ offense against the Panthers’ defense is just too big of a mismatch.
Jalen Hurts has produced at times, but he’s also been inconsistent. As a result, the Eagles are a middle of the road offense, ranking 15th in expected points added per play. Meanwhile, the Carolina defense ranks second in that stat (even after its meltdown against the Cowboys) while ranking first in both pass defense DVOA and rush defense DVOA.
The Panthers’ offense hasn’t been excellent, but the Eagles’ defense ranks in the bottom 10 in almost every major statistical category. Considering how low I am on Philly’s offense, the Panthers won’t need to put up too many points to cover this number, per our NFL gameday odds.
Best Bet: Under 45 (-114 at Unibet)
Again, the Eagles are going to get pummeled by Carolina at the point of attack. Philadelphia will struggle to move the ball as Hurts won’t have time to drive the ball downfield and the offensive line won’t get much of a push in the run game.
For this over to cash, the Panthers will need to score a lot. While they should be able to put up some points, they don’t have an offense that can score 30+ points per week. They grade out as PFF’s 17th-best offense and their 25th-best rushing attack.
McCaffrey’s injury, whether he plays or not, also limits Carolina’s ability to move the ball at will. While I think the Panthers win, this should be a rock fight from start to finish.