An critical TNF game? Eagles, Panthers play for tip of NFC

7:30 AM ET

Thursday Night Football has a bad repute — most of it warranted — though this week’s diversion looks like a doozy.

The Philadelphia Eagles (4-1) dump in on a Carolina Panthers (4-1) in Charlotte to flog off Week 6, and we don’t need to be a mathematician to figure out that a leader will be 5-1. ESPN Stats Information says that if a Eagles win, they’ll have a 34 percent possibility to go on to acquire a No. 1 seed in a NFC playoffs, given they’ll have usually a 10 percent possibility with a loss. If a Panthers win, their chances of nabbing a NFC’s tip seed urge to 23 percent, compared to 5 percent if they lose.

So yeah, it’s usually a sixth week, though this is a flattering large game.

Barnwell: The Carson Wentz breakout, and since he’s here to stay

The second-year Eagles quarterback has finished a leap, branch his 2016 weaknesses into strengths. And with a few veterans in decline, it’s time Carson Wentz is in a contention of a league’s tip tier.

  • Can Carson Wentz and Cam Newton say their MVP pace?

    Newton and Wentz have sprinted out of a embankment and into a early review for MVP, and there’s reason to trust they’ll stay in a brew all year.

  • If we assume a dominant Kansas City Chiefs are a league’s best organisation right now, afterwards that organisation is second-best? Along with a Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos, a Eagles and Panthers have a clever case.

    Who will win? It’s satisfactory to make Carolina a slight favorite. They’re a home team, and a Eagles will be but right tackle Lane Johnson (concussion), whose deficiency during his drug cessation final deteriorate had a unpropitious outcome on their offense. But these teams are uniformly matched and are doing a lot of unequivocally good — and unequivocally identical — things.

    Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz appears to be a much-improved actor given final season, and Panthers quarterback Cam Newton seems to be a much-improved actor since, well, dual weeks ago.

    “You have dual big, clever guys who are athletically during a tops of their position,” Eagles descent coordinator Frank Reich pronounced Tuesday. “[They] can extend plays in ways that are singular during a position, Carson during 6-foot-5 … and Cam during 6-foot-6, whatever he is, he’s a big, clever guy, both unequivocally athletic. That positively creates some dynamics that are tough for defenses to defend.”

    This should be fun.

    So to get we geared adult for this singular marquee Thursday night matchup, here’s a demeanour during a few of a things a Eagles and Panthers are doing good so distant this year that could keep them in a hunt for reward NFC playoff spots.


    Deep passing

    On throws roving during slightest 15 yards downfield, Newton leads all competent NFL quarterbacks this year with a 66.3 execution percentage. He ranked final in a joining (38.7 percent) in that difficulty in 2016. Part of what has helped with this alleviation is a efficacy of Carolina’s play-action game, presumably due to a courtesy defenses are profitable to energetic rookie using behind Christian McCaffrey. Newton leads all competent NFL quarterbacks this year with a 77.3 execution commission on play-action. Last year, he was also final in a joining in that difficulty (42.9 percent).

    In Philadelphia, Wentz is carrying larger success downfield as well, expected since of a improvements a front bureau finished in a far-reaching receiver organisation with a additions of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith. Eagles receivers this year arrange fifth in a NFL with an normal of 14.2 yards per reception, and their normal touchdown locate is 37 yards. Last year, Eagles receivers ranked next-to-last in a joining during 10.7 yards per catch.

    Third-down offense

    Wentz threw 3 touchdown passes on third down all of final season. He has 6 already this year. The Eagles have converted 11-of-26 third downs of 10 yards or longer this year. The series (11) and a commission (42.3) both lead a league. As a result, a Eagles arrange initial in a NFL this year in third-down acclimatisation commission on offense.

    Guess who ranks second? Yes, a Carolina Panthers. Both of these teams have excelled during fluctuating drives on offense, that is a large reason they lead a joining in time of possession differential. The Panthers are second in that difficulty during 6:32, behind usually a Eagles, who reason a towering 11:04 advantage in time of possession this season.

    “That’s so important, a approach a offense is means to control a round and take security divided from them by doing that,” Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis pronounced after Sunday’s win in Detroit. “I consider we saw it today. Once they were means to put points on a board, that unequivocally forced [the Lions'] hand, forced them to start flitting a round some-more and kind of took divided that change they had early in a game. And that’s what allows us to get to a quarterback.”


    Starting quickly

    The Panthers have been outscored by a sum of 28 points in a fourth buliding of their 5 games so distant this season. The reason they’re 4-1 is that they’ve outscored opponents by 39 points in a initial 3 quarters, fourth-best in a NFL.

    The Eagles, meanwhile, start faster than any organisation in a league. They’ve outscored their opponents 41-3 in a initial buliding of their games so distant this season. If we wish to watch this game, make certain we get a dishes finished and a rubbish out good in allege of kickoff. You could skip some early fad if we wait.

    “We’ve got another organisation entrance in that’s personification unequivocally good right now,” Panthers manager Ron Rivera said. “They run a round well, they chuck a round well, and they’re a brisk invulnerability as well. Our hands are going to be full.”

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