Carolina Panthers @ Philadelphia Eagles (-5, 45.5)
Line: this line is too low. It opened at -3.5 and -4 in some places and got bet up to -5 by now. I expected an opener around -6.5, -4.5 felt way too low when I locked in my bet. My power number is Eagles -8. I think the betting markets aren’t catching up with the current Eagles performances and are overrating the Panthers.
Situation: Doug Pederson has ten days to prepare, Carson Wentz has ten days to get more confident in his leg. Advantage Eagles.
Analysis: When we exclude the Nick Foles data from the first two weeks, which I did, we understand that the Eagles offense ranks 8th in passer rating, 9th in ANY/p and 18th in total DVOA (includes run DVOA) while progressing every week. The defense is about as average as it could get. They are 2-2 since Wentz came back and played very well against the Vikings but had some breaks going against them with a goal-line fumble and a fumble return touchdown. I believe the Eagles offense will – considering there won’t be more wind as of now – move the ball easily on the Panthers, especially through the air. Every offense except for Dallas was able to create big plays against a weaker Carolina secondary and I expect Wentz to do so as well when Alshon Jeffery is matched up against those corners and especially out of their 12 personnel grouping (2 TEs) which they run 36% of the time. The Panthers defense allows the fourth-highest success rate (69%) on passes to TEs and 9.6 YPA against 12 personnel. They are average against WRs. Zach Ertz should have a big game.
Carolina is vastly overrated in my opinion. Year to date, they got three home wins against two losses on the road. They beat a bad Cowboys team in week one and were outgained by the Giants and Bengals in their other two home games they won. They had a 4-0 turnover advantage over Cincy and they got outgained by three yards against the New York Giants who didn’t convert a third down. On a different day, they could have easily lost both matchups. If they lost against the Giants, this line would be Eagles -6.5. The way to attack the Eagles is by exploiting their secondary with quality route running and signal-callers who are not afraid to throw the ball. The Falcons, Bucs, and Vikings went off against them when Diggs, Thielen, Julio, Evans, and Jackson exploited that secondary. The Panthers don’t have that premium quality on their roster, their strength is the run game and feeding Christian McCaffrey as well as TE Greg Olsen. The Eagles defense, with their stout defensive line and athletic linebackers, ranks 7th in success rate (38%) against RB passes and 2nd (44%) against TE passes. This defense will take away the Panthers’ strength which forces Cam Newton to air it out against one of the best pass rushes in the league behind a questionable offensive line. Kirk Cousins was under pressure a lot, but he is a better passer than Cam and has much better perimeter weapons.
The Pick: Philadelphia Eagles -4.5 -105 (Pinnacle, 10/15 04.00 PM EST). They will take care of business at home against an overrated Panthers squad by taking away their strengths and doing enough on offense to comfortably win this one. Give me 31-17 Igglez.