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|Carolina Panthers (6-5) -3, O/U 37 at Philadelphia Eagles (5-6), 8:30 p.m. Eastern Monday, ESPN
by Ultimatecapper.com Staff
The Carolina Panthers pay a visit to the City of Brotherly Love for an NFC inter-conference bout with the Philadelphia Eagles on ESPNs Monday Night Football tonight.
Carolina, at 6-5, sits in 2nd place in the NFC South, a game and a half back of the division-leading New Orleans Saints. If they playoffs started today, the Panthers would be the #5 seed in the NFC.
Philadelphia, at 5-6, occupies 3rd place in the NFC East, 2 ½ games behind the division-leading Dallas Cowboys, but are only a half-game out of the sixth NFC playoff spot.
Carolina lost at Washington last week 17-13 as four-point road favorites, tallying just 264 yards of total offense.
The Eagles, losers of five of their last six games, lost last week at Indianapolis 45-21 as 10-point road underdogs. Philadelphia allowed the Colts to rush for 237 yards, the third time in the last four games the Eagles had given up 200 or more yards on the ground.
Carolina is 4-6-1 against the spread this season, 2-3 straight up and just 1-3-1 ATS on the road.
Philly is 5-6 vs. the number this season, and 3-3 both straight up and ATS at home.
These two teams havent met since Philly beat Carolina 30-8 in October of 2004.
Both teams have been losing the ground battles this season. Carolina is getting outrushed by a 109-107 yards-per-game average, while the Eagles are getting outgained on the ground by a 139-125 YPG margin.
These two teams have played four common opponents so far this season. The Panthers have beaten Tampa Bay twice (by scores of 26-24 and 24-10), while Philly got beat by the Bucs 23-21; Carolina fell to Washington last week 17-13, but the Eagles beat the Redskins 27-3; the Panthers also lost to Dallas 35-14, while Philly beat the Cowboys 38-24; and while Carolina defeated New Orleans 21-18, the Saints beat the Eagles 27-24.
Panthers QB Jake Delhomme owns a 12/9 TD/INT ratio this season and a 78.7 passing rating, which ranks 17th in the league.
Philly QB Jeff Garcia, subbing for the injured Donovan McNabb, owns a 3/0 TD/INT ratio and an 87.1 passing rating, albeit in limited action.
Carolinas offense ranks dead last in the league by converting just 29.5% of 3rd-down situations into first downs. But the Panthers defense ranks 1st by holding opponents to just a 28% success rate on 3rd down.
Meanwhile, the Eagles offense ranks 8th in the league with a 41% third-down success rate, and the Philly D ranks 14th by holding foes to a 37% conversion rate on 3rd down.
Carolina ranks 19th in the league in average time-of-possession at 29:43, while the Eagles rank 29th at 28:10.
The O/U is 3-8 in Carolina games this season, 6-4-1 in Eagles games.
Panthers RB DeShaun Foster, who missed last weeks game with an elbow injury, is listed as questionable for Monday nights game but will probably play. Carolina is also without one starter on the offensive line, and may also be missing guard Mike Wahle.
Garcia left Phillys game last Sunday night in the fourth quarter after suffering an arm injury, but he is expected to play Monday night.
The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com rank the Eagles 14th at 20.8, the Panthers 18th at 19.7.
Through Sundays betting action, NFL home underdogs are a profitable 35-22 (61%) vs. the spread this season.
Carolina opened up as three-point road chalk for Monday nights game, with a total of 37, and those numbers have moved very little.
Temperatures are expected to be fairly normal for an early December evening in Philadelphia, but strong winds in the forecast will bring the wind-chill factor down into the teens.
The Ultimatecapper Pick: We like the Eagles and the points!