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Monday Night Panthers at Eagles

December 04, 2006

NFL Football: Carolina (6-5) -3 at Philadelphia (5-6) 8:30 EST

By Tony Adams

Both teams are coming off disappointing losses and are in danger of missing the post-season. That means these two teams must bring an attitude of desperation into this game.

The Panthers are narrow three point favorites, but with quarterback Jake Delhomme struggling for confidence, and the team still coming to terms with a poor display at Washington last week, Carolina is far from a certainty.

The Eagles are not faring any better, hoping for a revival as they make a welcome return home after a 45-21 capitulation to the Colts last week. Philly is still struggling to find momentum after the crucial loss of star quarterback, Donovan McNabb for the season with a knee injury.

McNabb's replacement, Jeff Garcia had his first start against the Colts and performed creditably, throwing for 140 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Garcia was forced out of the game in the latter stages with a forearm injury, but he will play tonight.

With the Panthers losing three of their last five games, Delhomme is under plenty of pressure from Carolina fans to keep his spot. The Panthers have struggled on offense all season, and rank 27th in the NFL in scoring at a mere 17.2 points per game.

Delhomme has 12 touchdown passes and nine interceptions, and is 18th in the league in passer rating, well down from recent seasons. Delhomme looked vulnerable against the Redskins, throwing two interceptions, one on his final pass.

But the quarterback position isn't the only problem with the Carolina offense. The Panthers could come up with only 264 total yards against Washington, the team with the worst defensive record in the NFC going into the game.

All-Pro wide receiver Steve Smith was restricted to just 34 yards, while impressive rookie running back, DeAngelo Williams managed little better with 63 yards from 17 carries.

The Eagles' problems revolve more around their defense, with Colts rookie Joseph Addai exposing some glaring weaknesses last week. Addai had a picnic, scoring four touchdowns and rushing for 171 yards.

Philly has now conceded 76 points in its last two games, and the front four are clearly failing to put significant pressure on the quarterback.

Averaging just one sack per game in their last six outings, the Eagles are a far cry from their early-season form which saw them produce 25 sacks in their first five games.

On offense, the Eagles have been impressive, ranking second in the NFL, but it remains to be seen how much the loss of McNabb will hurt the team.

Summing Up: With both teams battling for survival, this one promises to be close and hard-fought. With a better balance to their offense, the Eagles may be able to spring the upset, if Garcia again steps up to the plate.

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