• WEEK 7 PREVIEW: Eagles look to make another statement vs. Panthers

    By: ROB MAADDI, AP Pro Football Writer

    Updated:

    PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia Eagles made a statement last October when they beat Carolina on the road in Week 6.

    They're trying to do it again this season, this time at home.

    [Norman intercepts Newton, Redskins beat Panthers 23-17]

    [GALLERY: Carolina Panthers at Washington Redskins]

    Despite winning the Super Bowl, the Eagles (3-3) are back to prove-it mode after a so-so start. The Panthers (3-2) are also looking to establish themselves as playoff contenders when they play in Philadelphia on Sunday.

    "We were fortunate enough to come away way with a victory on the road," Eagles coach Doug Pederson said about a 28-23 win in a Thursday night game on Oct. 12, 2017. "This year, it's no different. Two good football teams. Two aggressive style defenses. So it's going to have to be a complete game if we expect to win. It's going to be a really good test for us to see where we are in Week 7."


    The Carolina Panthers are hoping to bounce back from last week's loss to Washington with a win over the Super Bowl Champions, the Philadelphia Eagles. 

    Channel 9's Phil Orban is in Philly and will have LIVE post-game coverage on Eyewitness News at 6. You can also watch extended highlights and analysis of the big plays tonight on Queen City Overtime, which starts right after Eyewitness News at 11. 


    Both teams were 4-1 when they met last time. The Eagles already have matched their loss total from last season but they're coming off a dominating 34-13 win at the Giants on Oct. 11. The Panthers lost at Washington 23-17.

    "There's no reason to panic," Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. "We're just going to keep working hard and trying to improve."

    Some things to watch between the Panthers and Eagles:

    TORREY'S RETURN

    Panthers wide receiver Torrey Smith was a starter for the Eagles last season and caught a touchdown pass on a flea flicker in the NFC championship game against Minnesota. He said he has no hard feelings over being traded to Carolina after only one season in Philadelphia. Pederson praised Smith's leadership ability.

    "He's a great leader. Great man, first of all," Pederson said. "He brings explosiveness, he can still run, he can still get open."

    CONTAINING CAM

    The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Cam Newton is difficult to tackle when he runs the ball. He has 208 yards rushing and a team-high three TDs on the ground.

    "We have to make sure we do our job," Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham said. "If you don't, that's when Cam gets out and he beats you. He's a big boy. You just have to make sure you go get him, bring him to the ground, tackle well. We have to be aggressive but play smart, too."

    Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said Newton is "more of a power running back than half the running backs they have."


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    THE BODYGUARD

    Eagles nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters isn't expected to miss a game despite tearing his right biceps. Pederson said there's no risk to a further injury and he doesn't see a need to rest the 36-year-old Peters. Halapoulivaati Vaitai replaced Peters after the two-time All-Pro had season-ending knee surgery last season. He performed well enough to help Philadelphia win the Super Bowl.

    CHESS MATCH

    Eagles All-Pro center Jason Kelce is eager to match wits with four-time All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly.

    "You game plan against difference makers and he's one of those guys," Kelce said. "Not only is he an incredibly gifted athlete but mentally he's as sharp as they come. He does a phenomenal job as the orchestrator of that defense."

    [LEVELING THE PLAYING FIELD: Panthers WR fighting for justice, from personal experience]

    DINK AND DUNK

    Newton has completed only one pass that traveled more than 20 yards beyond the line of scrimmage this season. He is also averaging just 6.8 yards per completion. But Newton's completion percentage under first-year offensive coordinator Norv Turner is a career-best 65.9.

    "When we get into the logistical things of football and what the defense is giving and what they aren't, you just can't go down and chuck the football downfield and just expect, 'Well, we didn't take shots in the game,'" Newton said. "Whatever Norv and his offensive staff calls, it's my job as a quarterback to execute it."


    Recent Panthers coverage


    Panthers-Eagles Capsule Preview

    CAROLINA (3-2) at PHILADELPHIA (3-3)

    Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

    OPENING LINE - Eagles by 4

    RECORD VS. SPREAD - Panthers 2-3, Eagles 2-4

    SERIES RECORD - Eagles lead 7-4

    LAST MEETING - Eagles beat Panthers 28-23, Oct. 17, 2017

    LAST WEEK - Panthers lost to Redskins 23-17; Eagles beat Giants 34-13

    AP PRO32 RANKING - Panthers No. 12, Eagles No. 10

    PANTHERS OFFENSE - OVERALL (22), RUSH (4), PASS (26)

    PANTHERS DEFENSE - OVERALL (14T), RUSH (15), PASS (15)

    EAGLES OFFENSE - OVERALL (18), RUSH (14), PASS (20)

    EAGLES DEFENSE - OVERALL (12), RUSH (2), PASS (23)

    STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES:

    • Panthers coach Ron Rivera was Philadelphia's linebackers coach 1999-2003.
    • Panthers WR Torrey Smith started for Eagles last season.
    • Panthers face third straight NFC East opponent.
    • Panthers visit defending Super Bowl champion third straight season.
    • QB Cam Newton has been sacked only eight times. Newton leads NFL with 115.7 passer rating in red zone to go with five TDs passing and three TDs rushing.
    • RB Christian McCaffrey has 587 scrimmage yards but only one TD.
    •  LB Luke Kuechly has 67 tackles, sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery and two interceptions, including 49-yard TD return, in last eight vs. NFC East.
    • LB Thomas Davis plays second game after serving four-game suspension for violating league's policy on performance enhancers.
    • DE Mario Addison has seven sacks in his past eight road games.
    • Eagles are 17-4 at home since 2016.
    • Eagles have ranked first in time of possession since coach Doug Pederson arrived in 2016.
    • Eagles rank first in opponent red-zone TD efficiency at 34.8 percent.
    • QB Carson Wentz has thrown at least one TD in last 19 games played, longest streak in franchise history and second-longest active streak behind Andrew Luck (28).
    • Wentz has thrown 133 consecutive passes without a pick. His longest streak is 135 passes.
    • RB Darren Sproles expected to return after missing five games with hamstring injury.
    • Zach Ertz ranks second in receptions (48) behind Adam Thielen (58) and leads all TEs in yards (480).
    • DE Michael Bennett is tied with James Harrison for second-most sacks (56) by undrafted player since 2009, trailing Cameron Wake (93).
    • Fantasy tip: McCaffrey might not pile up a ton of yards rushing vs. Eagles but he should catch plenty of passes and pile up total yards.

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