After seemingly getting back on track last Thursday night at MetLife Stadium, the Eagles will look to climb over the .500 mark when they host the Carolina Panthers on Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field. The Panthers, who are 1-4 all-time in regular season games played in Philadelphia, are looking for their first road victory of the season, and they will have their work cut out for them if they hope to get it. The Eagles are 17-4 at home, including the postseason, under Doug Pederson and look to avoid back-to-back home losses for the first time since late in the 2016 season.

Panthers at Eagles (-5), Over/Under 45

Everybody knows the Panthers want to run the ball, and they have been successful doing so this season. They come into this game with the NFL’s No. 4 rushing offense (139.4 yards per game) and averaging 5.0 yards per carry. That rushing attack will be tested this week when it goes up against an Eagles defense that’s allowing the NFL’s second-fewest rush yards per game (79.8). While Carolina doesn’t necessarily have a favorable matchup in the ground game, running back Christian McCaffrey figures to pose issues for an Eagles defense that is 20th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA rankings. McCaffrey has amassed 349 yards rushing on 4.9 yards per carry, while also hauling in 34 catches for 238 yards. One other thing to keep an eye on—Jim Schwartz’s unit has been susceptible to allowing chunk plays in the passing game all season long, but Cam Newton enters this contest having only completed two passes that have traveled 20 yards or longer downfield. In fact, Newton is only averaging 6.5 yards per pass attempt, which is 25th in the NFL. The Eagles’ ability to control Carolina’s short to intermediate passing game will likely dictate its ability to get off the field on third downs. The Panthers offense is 21st in the NFL in third down conversion percentage (37.93%), while the Eagles defense has thrived on third downs, limiting opponents to only a 29.49% conversion rate.


On the other side of the ball, Carson Wentz has been excellent since returning to the lineup in Week 4. He’s completing 68.4% of his passes, while throwing for 1,192 yards and eight touchdowns against only one interception. He should have plenty of opportunities to make plays against what has been an inconsistent Carolina defense that has allowed a 65.34% completion percentage and 7.3 yards per pass attempt this season. The Philadelphia ground attack has been moderately successful despite a slew of injuries when Doug Peterson elects to run the football. The Eagles are No. 18 in the NFL in yards per rush (4.2), and No. 14 in yards per game (110.3), and they, too, have a favorable matchup against a Panthers defense that is allowing 4.6 yards per carry this season.

Gambling TrendsAs of Saturday morning, there is a dead 50/50 split in bet volume between the Panthers and Eagles, while 63% of the money backs the Eagles. So what? This means the more aggressive and professional bettors are on the Eagles, while the public money rests with Carolina. The Eagles opened as a consensus 4.5-point favorite, but are now anywhere between 5 and 5.5-point favorites at several sportsbooks. The consensus total, meanwhile, opened at 44.5 and has crept up to 45 at some books. As always, be sure to shop around to ensure that you’re getting the best prices.

Things to Know: The “Under” has cashed in 15 of 21 games coached by Doug Pederson at Lincoln Financial Field, including all three games this season and in six-straight regular season games dating back to last November. That has much to do with Jim Schwartz’s defense which has surrendered only 11.67 points per game during that span. Meanwhile, the “Over” has hit in 36 of the 61 road games coached by Ron Rivera. The Eagles are 7-2 ATS and 4-0 ATS when Clete Blakeman is the head official, as he is in this game. The Eagles are 14-7 ATS at home under Doug Pederson and 9-5 ATS as a home favorite. Pederson is 3-1 ATS against teams that are on a one-game losing streak, while Ron Rivera is 17-10-1 ATS against teams on a one-game winning streak. Rivera is also 21-14 ATS as a road underdog.

The Eagles have also performed well as a favorite at home under Pederson when they are favored by anywhere between one and seven points, going 7-4 ATS. In any game in which the Eagles are favored or the underdog by 7 points or less, they are 12-6 ATS.

Prediction: The under has been extraordinarily successful in games played at Lincoln Financial Field, including this season in which all three games have stayed under the total, but I’m going the other way here. I think this Carolina defense is a bit overrated, and the Eagles should have opportunities to move the football effectively both through the air and on the ground. I’m well aware that Jim Schwartz’s defense typically excels at home, but its continued vulnerability to big plays and the Christian McCaffrey matchup concern me. I see some points being scored in what should be a competitive contest. The Eagles have been so successful at home, I think they’re the better team, and they should be relatively well-rested coming into this game, so I’ll roll with them, too.

Eagles 31, Panthers 20