Week six of the NFL is almost upon us. A short turnaround sees the Eagles travel to Carolina for a matchup against another team sat at 4-1 in the NFC, the Panthers. There’s a lot on the line in this primetime game and it’s certainly going to be a huge test for this young Eagles team. As for our bold predictions, we’re now 8/20 on the season so far…which isn’t bad at all considering what our crystal ball has shown. Here are this week’s five bold predictions.
Alshon Jeffery balls out:
It seems like this pick makes an appearance every week, but with good reason. Alshon Jeffery has helped open this Eagles offense up to a completely different level since joining the team, but as of right now he’s the third leading receiver on the team behind Agholor and Ertz. His two touchdowns and 246 yards worth of receiving have made a big impact, but so far Jeffery hasn’t been able to emerge as a dominant threat.
When you factor in the elite cornerbacks that have shadowed him so far however, it becomes a little easier to see why. This week, he faces a Panthers secondary that is a little banged up. Starting corners James Bradberry and Daryl Worley are more than likely going to be active on Thursday night but less than 100% at best. Former Eagles safety Kurt Coleman joins them and may be listed as inactive. This opens a huge window of opportunity for Jeffery…and one he has to take advantage of.
My first bold prediction is for Jeffery to finally have his first 100-yard game as an Eagle and score his third touchdown of the year.
Anything you can do, I can do better:
The Panthers rushing attack is scary. With Christian McCaffrey and Cam Newton headlining the show, bell-cow back Jonathan Stewart cannot be overlooked. The pair of running backs have accounted for 346 yards on the ground so far, but with such explosive versatility, it’s hard to miss their ability to receive out of the backfield or line up as receivers.
Like the Panthers however, the Eagles have launched a somewhat dominant rushing effort this year. LeGarrette Blount is joined by Corey Clement and Kenjon Barner after injuries ripped through the locker room, but the backfield still put up 114 rushing yards last week.
The Eagles may not have the prowess that the Panthers do in the backfield, or the upside. But they do have a healthier offensive line…(to some extent) and a more efficient one. Therefore, my second bold prediction is for the Eagles to out-rush the Panthers on Thursday night and for their backs to amass more all-purpose yards.
It’s been a while…
Jordan Hicks is one of the most talented linebackers in the NFL and one who has come on leaps and bounds since first entering the league three season’s ago. The term “Hicks six” also became synonymous with his play, as the former Longhorn showed his ballhawking ability countless times…but it’s been a while since his last interception. In fact, his last two came against Dallas in the final game of last season.
With the Panthers launching a passing attack that’s largely intermediate, and their quarterback having a tendency to misfire under pressure…my third bold prediction is for Jordan Hicks to pick off his first pass of the season.
Feeling the heat:
Cam Newton has been sacked 15 times already this season. Without starting center Ryan Kalil, there is a HUGE window for Timmy Jernigan and the arsenal of defensive tackles who have stepped up in absence of Fletcher Cox to wreak havoc inside. The Panthers are likely going to adapt a quick, snappy passing game…but if the Birds can force Carolina to throw from behind and can consistently get in the face of Cam Newton, they have every chance of marginalizing this Offense.
My penultimate bold prediction is for the Eagles to sack Newton four times on Thursday night.
It all finally comes together:
Patrick Robinson has been BALLING this season. Graded as PFF’s top cornerback, Robinson has had his fair share of passes defensed galore, huge plays, and the soundest coverage we’ve seen from an Eagles corner in the last few years. The one thing he’s struggled to do however is come down with the football.
Even with Mychal Kendricks tipping the pass, Robinson found a way to take the simplicity out of catching the ball…I guess that’s why he’s a corner after all. But regardless, Robinson has been a FIEND around the ball this season…but after three passes defensed against the Cardinals, my final bold prediction is for Robinson to finally haul in a pass of his own accord.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports