Philadelphia got beat by the Patriots in Week 1, and the NFL odds are favoring Philadelphia here at -3.5, with a total of 43.5. Which side of these lines should we add to our Thursday preseason NFL picks?
Cam Newton played three full series in the Panthers’ Week 1 win over the Bears, and I think we can expect double and even more than that here in Week 2. In last year’s preseason Week 2, Newton played almost the entire first half, which is something a lot of coaches do in Week 2 of the preseason. I could see him getting that many reps this week. With new offensive coordinator, Mike Shula, the Panthers will try and put points on the board with every possession. They scored 24 points on the Bears last week, and they scored in every quarter of the game.
The Eagles were more worried about their quarterback battle in Week 1, and I think we can expect more of the same this week. Chip Kelly is going to probably give each quarterback 1.5 quarters of action in Week 2, and that won’t necessarily help them win the game.
On top of the offensive shakiness, their defense looked bad against the Patriots. Even though most defenses look bad against the Patriots, a Shula-led Panthers offense is going to be no walk in the park. All three quarterbacks on the Panthers’ roster have or have competed to start games in the NFL, and at least two of them would probably start for the Eagles if they were on their team. In last week’s preseason game, the Eagles gave up 442 yards of total offense.
With last week's win, Ron Rivera improved to 5-4 ATS in his preseason-coaching career. While we are yet to have much definitive info on Kelly, his quarterback battle takes him out of the running for this game. I have no idea why his team is favored by more than a field goal. However Rivera seems to put even more stock in the middle weeks of the preseason, as most coaches do. Combine that with having a new offense to test out, and playing a transitioning/evaluating team, I’ll take points with the Panthers all day. It would not surprise me to see the Eagles go 0-4 this year in the preseason. Finding out who is going to start the regular season at quarterback is more important than winning preseason games.
The Sharp Pick
With Shula in as the OC, I see the Panthers using their depth at quarterback to spray the ball all over the field in this one. Newton only had six pass attempts in Week 1, and I would expect that number to double in Week 2. With Jimmy Clausen and Derek Anderson also in the fold, the Panthers will shred the Eagles’ first-string defense, let alone their 2nd, 3rd and 4th strings. The possibility of the starters getting more run in this game only favors the Panthers. The Eagles will be too busy running different plays, and not necessarily game-planning with those plays. For your sports picks, take the Panther's points while you can.
NFL Pick: Pick the Panthers +3 at Ladbrokes
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