Let's talk a little bit about the lack of explosive plays from Carolina's receivers, because that's one of the reasons this team struggles so much getting the ball into the end zone.
Here's a disturbing statistic for you Panther fans. Philadelphia's Jeremy Maclin has five catches of 50-plus yards in 2014 -- by himself! The Panthers' entire team has one (Kelvin Benjamin's 51-yarder in the loss to Seattle, which is pictured here).
This is where the departure of Ted Ginn Jr. and Brandon LaFell has really hurt Carolina. Those two weren't as consistent catching the ball as Steve Smith, but they would rip off a 50-yard play every now and then.
And Jerricho Cotchery, the Panthers' other starter at wide receiver? He does have a 47-yard reception -- after the game was decided against New Orleans -- but he has not scored a touchdown all year. The Panthers' third wideout in most situations, Jason Avant, has only one TD. Carolina simply isn't getting enough production from any receiver besides Benjamin. Opponents have figured out that if they pay a lot of attention to Benjamin and Greg Olsen, it's very hard for Carolina to find anyone else to hurt them.
-- Here's something I didn't know about the Eagles until the past few days: They have an official offseason basketball squad that plays in charity events. These used to be fairly common in the NFL -- when I covered the Miami Dolphins in the early 1990s, they had one for awhile -- but dwindled out because of the injury risk. The Panthers have never had an official team (although Greg Hardy once claimed he could beat LeBron James in a one-on-one game).
You know who holds the Eagles' all-time record for most points in a single offseason basketball game? Maclin, with 50 points.
-- You can bet Darren Sproles will have at least one huge play against the Panthers Monday night. He was a thorn in their side for years in New Orleans and always plays well when he sees black and blue.
-- Prediction time. I misfired on picking Carolina to win against New Orleans, which dropped my record for the year to 5-3-1. Mark Sanchez will make a few mistakes as quarterback for the Eagles and I think Cam Newton is due for a good game. But ultimately I just don't see the Panthers' defensive secondary holding up against that frantic Chip Kelly offense. My pick: Philadelphia 31, Carolina 20.