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Dreadful Eagles Host Woeful Panthers In Monday Night Football Tilt In Philadelphia

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By Ted Fleming

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES BY THE NUMBERS
2012 Record: 3-7
Record vs. Panthers: 5-2
Streak vs. Eagles W3
Last Meeting: Eagles 38, Panthers 10 (9/13/09)
Next Game: Monday at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia (69,144) @ 8:30 p.m. on ESPN

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 18: Quarterback Nick Foles #9 of the Philadelphia Eagles signals from the line of scrimmage against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field on November 18, 2012 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

(Credit Rob Carr/Getty Images)

When the NFL scheduled the Panthers and Eagles to meet in a Week 12 Monday Night Football game there were high hopes that both clubs would be playoff bound with something on the line for each of them. While the only thing on the line is a better draft position to the loser, ESPN is having a hard time trying to sell this turkey to viewers, if you pardon the Thanksgiving pun.

While the Panthers’ woes have been well documented, there seems to be a consensus that the Eagles are one of, if not the biggest disappointment in the league. They have one of the more exciting players in quarterback Michael Vick yet the Philadelphia offense reeks, uh, ranks next to last, 31st, averaging just 16.2 points a game even though their passing, running and total yards are mid-pack or better. The simple fact is they just can’t get the ball into the end zone.

Head coach Andy Reid is the longest tenured coach in the NFL, he took over the Eagles in 1999, but it appears he is about to hand that honor over to Bill Belichick (2000) because there is every indication he will be relieved of his duties at the end of the season. There is even talk that Vick will be moving on as well leaving the quarterback chores to Nick Foles and whoever may be brought in to compete for that position.

Foles had a rather inauspicious first NFL start against the Redskins last weekend with some rookie mistakes and throwing a pair of picks to finish the game with a rather paltry 40.5 passer rating. The offensive line has not helped because Foles was sacked four times meaning that whoever is under center they have been dropped an amazing 33 times so far. That doesn’t include the hundreds of times he has been hit so that may give you some idea why Vick cannot stay healthy.

Those numbers play right into the hands of the Panthers defensive because they have been remarkably better than expected and are tied for 11th in sacks, just nine behind the league leading Broncos with 35. Charles Johnson paced the team with 8.5 while Greg Hardy follows him with 7.0. Don’t let the overall rank if 21st fool you; Carolina seems to be getting better each week despite their record.

Cam Newton should have a pretty good day even if the Panthers cannot establish a ground game. Philly has had little success getting to the quarterback with just 16 sacks all season just ahead of the Raiders and Jaguars in tie for 29th with the Titans. Eventually running backs Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams will have a breakout game and they will be up against an 18th rated run defense so this could be an interesting matchup.

PREDICTION: Panthers 24, Eagles 10

CONNECTIONS:
PANTHERS: Head coach Ron Rivera spent five seasons (1999-03) as the linebackers coach for the Eagles, who advanced to the NFC Championship game in each of his final three seasons in Philadelphia ….. Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott spent 12 seasons with the Eagles from 1999-2010 in various capacities. After stints as assistant defensive backs coach (2003), secondary/safeties coach (2004-06), linebackers coach (2007) and secondary coach (2008), he moved into the defensive coordinator role from 2009-10 ….. LB Jason Williams appeared in two games with the Eagles in 2012 after being released by Carolina following training camp and the preseason. Williams was claimed off waivers by the Panthers on 11/5/12.
EAGLES: Linebackers coach Mike Caldwell played for the Panthers in 2003 ….. DT Derek Landri started all 16 games for the Panthers in 2010 and notched 63 tackles and 3.0 sacks, both career highs ….. Originally a third-round selection of the Panthers in 2005, G Evan Mathis spent three seasons in Carolina from 2005-07, appearing in 25 games (15 starts) over that period.

For more Local Football Bloggers and the latest Panthers news, see CBS Sports Charlotte.

Ted Fleming is a freelance writer covering all things Carolina Panthers. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

Ted Fleming is a freelance writer covering all things Carolina Panthers. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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