NFL Week 6 Preview: Eagles at Panthers
The Philadelphia Eagles visit the Carolina Panthers in Week 6 of the 2017 season. PFF previews the top player matchups of the game.
Coverage by: Mike Alessandrini
Matchup: Philadelphia Eagles offense vs. Carolina Panthers defense
- QB Carson Wentz vs. Panthers cornerbacks – Wentz was solid in his team’s victory over the Cardinals. When facing pressure, the sophomore completed 67 percent of his passes and earned a 121.5 passer rating (second highest among quarterbacks in Week 5). Even better on third down, Wentz completed 11-of-12 passes for 225 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a perfect 158.3 passer rating. James Bradberry and Daryl Worley will look to slow down Philadelphia’s aerial attack this week. Bradberry earned an 80.6 overall grade in Week 5 against Detroit. Matthew Stafford had 63.5 when targeting the Panthers’ top corner. Worley has allowed two touchdowns and a 101.2 passer rating in coverage this year, but his 0.79 yards per coverage snap ranks inside the top-20 at his position.
- G Stefen Wisniewski vs. DI Kawann Short – Perhaps the most interesting matchup in the trenches Thursday is the forthcoming battle between Wisniewski and Short. The Eagles’ veteran guard has established himself as the lead dog during the in-season audition for the starting left guard spot. The versatile lineman has allowed two total pressures in 63 pass-block snaps in 2017. His 97.6 pass-blocking efficiency ranks 19th among guards. Short is PFF’s eighth-highest graded interior defender (88.4 overall) and dominated last week against the Lions. On 34 pass-rush snaps, he generated four total pressures including three sacks. His 88.0 game grade led the Panthers defense.
- HB LeGarrette Blount vs. LB Luke Kuechly – Blount will once again lead Philadelphia’s backfield into a tough matchup against the Panthers on Thursday night. The first-year Eagle did not have his best game last week against Arizona, but he still leads all running backs with a 171.6 elusive rating and 4.82 yards after contact per attempt in 2017. Carolina’s star linebacker will be tasked with slowing down the Eagles’ strong rushing attack. Kuechly has accumulated seven stops against the run while missing just one tackle. The linebacker has earned an 82.5 run defense grade this year.
Coverage by: Mike Manning
Matchup: Carolina Panthers offense vs. Philadelphia Eagles defense
- HB Jonathan Stewart vs. LB Nigel Bradham – The thunder in Carolina’s thunder and lightning duo, Stewart accounts for 67.5 percent of the carries by Panthers’ running backs. He leads the team in yards after contact with 2.58, doing most of his damage between right guard Trai Turner and right tackle Daryl Williams where he has 3.6 yards after contact per rush. The veteran has also broken 23 tackles this season, tied for second-most by a running back in 2017 behind only Kareem Hunt’s incredible 34. Bradham has stuffed the run well this season, his nine run stops are tied for the team lead with Brandon Graham and he ranks tied for seventh among outside linebackers. But his eight missed tackles, including four in the run game, are tied for second-most by any defender this season.
- T Matt Kalil vs. Edge Derek Barnett – After Kalil’s Week 2 performance that earned a 26.3 overall grade, he has improved each week since then, culminating in his 74.5 against the Lions. But four of his 14 pressures allowed this season have been sacks. Kalil has not allowed a sack or more than two pressures in a game since Week 3 and will look to continue that streak against the Ealges first-round pick Barnett. While Barnett has yet to record a sack in his young career, he has recorded nine total pressures, which is the fifth-most by a rookie edge defender this season.
- TE Ed Dickson vs. S Malcolm Jenkins – Dickson has recorded eight of his nine targets in the past two games after only being targeted 4 times in the first three weeks of the season. His new found production has happened with him lining up all over the field, with at least 20 passing snaps lined up inline, in the slot, out wide, and in the backfield for the Panthers. Dickson has also shown off his big play ability, with an average depth per target of 14.6 yards downfield, the highest on the team. Jenkins has been targeted 25 times this season, allowing 19 receptions on those targets, the most receptions allowed by a safety. His average depth when targeted is only 7.2 yards downfield, but opposing quarterbacks have a passer rating of 108.6 when targeting him in 2017.