By Michael Brennan
The Carolina Panthers (2-8) are looking at a premium opportunity to steer their season in the right direction; the stage – Monday Night Football, the opponent – the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles (3-7) have experienced much of the same disappointment that the Carolina Panthers have this season. It’s the story of two teams, one ensuring a “dynasty”, the other, ensuring a Super Bowl. While most of the nation will find this Monday night alignment irrelevant, both teams are bringing everything to the fight in this very “winnable” matchup.
Unfortunately for Philadelphia, they will be without Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy, both ruled out because of concussions. Rookie quarterback, Nick Foles, will get the start in place of the injured Vick while Bryce Brown replaces fellow running back LeSean McCoy. The Eagles will need to produce some offense with this pair of rookies. Philadelphia has averaged only 16.2 points per game all season, managing to only score six points in Nick Foles’ only start this season.
Carolina is still recovering from a fourth quarter meltdown that they suffered at home against the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Panthers have been unable to get the running game going this year and haven’t had a 100-yard rusher in 21 games. Steve Smith has had an incredibly quiet season in comparison to the resurgence he had in 2011. Smith has only one touchdown on the season but has managed to rack up 710 receiving yards.
Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers are 1-3 on the road this season which doesn’t help their chances against the Eagles in Philadelphia. Both teams badly need a win in this matchup to give them some pride and momentum for the rest of their schedule.
It will be interesting to see the way that the Carolina Panthers manage the pressure of a primetime game, their only other primetime appearance this season, a 36-7 mauling in Charlotte, NC, at the hands of the New York Giants.