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Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Eagles could fall prey to hungry Panthers

Newton getting back to his best

Cam Newton has had a bit more to smile about recently
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The quality of the NFL’s Thursday Night Football games is often criticised but the teams playing on a short week this time are of a high standard.

Carolina and Philadelphia have the joint-best records in the NFC, along with Green Bay, at 4-1 and they should serve up an entertaining game, with the Panthers fancied to come out on top.

Carolina fans would have been concerned a couple of weeks ago as quarterback Cam Newton had not looked anything like his usual self since a shoulder injury. Things have looked much brighter in the eye-catching wins at New England and Detroit, though, with Newton throwing three TD passes and topping 300 passing yards in each game.

The Eagles have done little wrong and their only defeat was by seven points to unbeaten Kansas City on the road.

None of their other four opponents have a winning record, though, and the Panthers will be the best defence second-year QB Carson Wentz has faced this season. Wentz has connected on some spectacular TD passes and has had great protection from the Eagles offensive line.


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But the Panthers will give him plenty to think about and he cannot afford to let his accuracy or decision-making let him down in this one.

The Panthers offence should test the Eagles’ secondary and they can secure a home win.

Recommendation
Carolina -3
1pt 4-5 general


Key stat
Carolina have won eight of their last nine games against NFC East teams

Team news
Philadelphia Cornerback Ronald Darby (ankle), offensive tackle Lane Johnson (concussion) and running back Wendell Smallwood (knee) are likely to miss the game. Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (calf) has a chance to return after two weeks out, while defensive tackle Beau Allen (foot), defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao (wrist), and defensive end Chris Long (foot) are other injury concerns.

Carolina Safety Kurt Coleman (knee), safety Demetrious Cox (ankle) and centre Ryan Kalil (neck) all missed Sunday’s game against Detroit and are set to be sidelined again. Wide receiver Devin Funchess (knee) and cornerback Daryl Worley (ankle) should be fit. A late decision is likely to be taken on offensive tackle Matt Kalil (ankle).


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Things have looked much brighter in the eye-catching wins at New England and Detroit
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