Week 12: Carolina Panthers At Philadelphia Eagles
- QuarterbackCam Newton has struggled throughout much of his second season, but he remains a supremely talented player. However, holding onto the ball has become an issue for Newton and it’s probably one of the key reasons behind his problems. Newton has thrown 10 interceptions and he has also fumbled the ball nine times.Nick Foles has looked completely ineffective in relief of injured Mike Vick. Foles wants to stand in the pocket, find an open receiver and step in and throw the ball hard. The Eagles’ offensive line won’t allow him to play like that. They couldn’t protect Vick and they can’t protect Foles. He lacks accuracy and confidence. That’s not a winning combination.
- OffenseThe Panthers want to set the tone with their ground game. Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams and Newton are supposed to give the Panthers a formidable ground attack, but they have been ordinary this season. Wide receiver Steve Smith is a warrior who will battle for everything thrown his way. Greg Olsen is a solid tight end who can go downfield and stretch the defense.Offensive line issues have plagued the Eagles all season. While they have often played out in big hits on Vick and Foles, they haven’t opened big holes for the LeSean McCoy in the running game. McCoy suffered a concussion in Week 11 and he may not be able to play. Wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are solid threats who can go downfield and make plays.
- DefenseThe Panthers had the Bucs on the ropes in Week 11, but they allowed a late TD pass and 2-point conversion that allowed them to send the game into overtime. Head coach Ron Rivera admitted his defense got fatigued in the game. Rookie Luke Kuechly leads the team with 97 tackles. Defensive end Charles Johnson has 8.5 sacks and is difficult to block.The Eagles have done a decent job on defense, ranking 12th overall in yards allowed. Middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans has a team-leading 77 tackles and he is almost always in the right position. The Eagles are not getting enough from defensive ends Jason Babin and Trent Cole, who have combined for 6.0 sacks.
- Special TeamsThe Panthers have struggled badly in all aspects of special teams. Captain Munnerlyn has plenty of speed, but he is a substandard punt returner. He is averaging 5.1 yards per return this season. Justin Medlock has attempted 10 field goals this year and has made 7 of them.The Eagles have had difficulty covering kickoffs and punts. They are allowing 13.5 yards per punt return and 27.0 yards per kickoff return. Alex Henery has been one of the few positives for the Eagles, having been successful on 17-of-18 FG attempts.
This is one of the saddest Monday night games in recent memory. Andy Reid has no chance of turning this situation around and he will almost certainly be gone by the end of the season. Ron Rivera will find himself in the line of fire as knee-jerk owner Jerry Richardson will blame him for the Panthers’ poor season.