But now, not only have both teams put together a couple of atrocious records to this point in the season, but the marquee match-up between Panthers’ QB Cam Newton and Eagles’ QB Michael Vick will not even take place.
Vick is still recovering from a concussion sustained in Week 10 against the Dallas Cowboys, and barring a miracle, he will not be cleared to play Monday night.
This means rookie Nick Foles will again be handling the quarterbacking duties, after showing little promise in his first NFL start last week against the Washington Redskins. His starting debut could not have gone much worse, as Foles and the Eagles were trampled 31-6.
When it comes to the the Panthers’ quarterback situation, Newton has without a doubt fallen into the dreaded sophomore slump. He is not only struggling to win games, but he also is failing to put up any truly impressive statistics.
But still, no matter how many points his Panthers are down by or how terribly he is performing, Newton still insists on begging for attention with his pompous first-down signaling, or his “Superman shirt-tear” which is now being mocked league-wide.
It is very hard to judge how well Newton will play and what sort of attitude he will take the field with from game to game. Newton has the undeniable talent to toy with any defense he faces, but when stuggling, he tends to get down on himself and takes his mind out of the game.
All the Eagles’ defense has to do is get a couple of good licks on Newton, and force him to turn the ball over early on. Once Newton is rattled, he has a very difficult time recuperating.
The Eagles’ offense will also face plenty of adversity on Monday night, because not only is Vick out with a concussion, but starting RB LeSean McCoy will also be sidelined after suffering a concussion last week against the Redskins.
It looks like RB Bryce Brown will make his first career start, joining his fellow rookie, Foles, in the Eagles’ first-team backfield. Brown has yet to impress while backing up McCoy, rushing for 141 yards on 32 attempts, with 40 of those yards coming on one single burst. Brown has also yet to reach the end-zone.
The Eagles’ passing game is also in great jeopardy, as Foles was completely incapable of getting the ball to Eagles’ stand-out wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin last week against the ‘Skins. Jackson caught a measly 2 passes for 5 yards, and Maclin went without a catch.
It’s always hard to predict if Panthers’ running backs Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams will be much of a factor, but I will be counting on Newton to see most of his team’s production.
In the end, the key to this game in my eyes is going to be the Eagles’ success in containing Newton. He is one of those players who can absolutely gash an opponent at will, and as long as his confidence is intact, he is basically unstoppable.
So if the Eagles can keep Newton in the tackle box and avoid letting him scramble for yardage, they could possibly pull off their first victory in seven long weeks.
But in reality, this Eagles’ team is just in too much disarray to even be considered a decent competitor at this point.
The Panthers will walk away with an anticlimactic win, ending with a score of 19-12.
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