Will Philadelphia Eagles’ defense be able to contain Cam Newton?


Will the Philadelphia Eagles put an end to Cam Newton’s hot streak?

The Philadelphia Eagles have just wrapped up a short week of practice as they head to Bank of America Stadium to play Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Although the Eagles barely had a few days to prepare, Carolina is dealing with the same amount of limited time. Both teams will come into Thursday nights game with a record of 4-1, sharing the top of the NFC conference. Only one of them will remain on top after what we anticipate will be a hard-fought game.

After what was considered a down season in 2016, the Panthers seem to be looked at as legitimate playoff contenders once again. The 2015 league MVP, Cam Newton seems to have gotten his swagger back. Having a little bit of help from Kelvin Benjamin and Christian McCaffrey, the Eagles defense will have to absolutely be on their A-game to come out on top.

After letting up only seven points last week, the Eagles will have to emulate that style of play once again. For the most part, they played lights out on defense for the entire game against the Arizona Cardinals. The opponent may be tougher this time around, but that doesn’t mean they cant handle what they are up against. The key to the Eagles defense on Thursday night is simple, get to the quarterback. As long as they continue to do that, they force the passer to make mistakes. It sounds difficult, but if history repeats itself, it is very do-able.

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Will history repeat itself?

The last time the Eagles faced off against the Panthers was in 2015. The same year where Newton established himself as the league’s best as the Panthers headed to Super Bowl 50. Although the Panthers defeated the Eagles 27-16, we are all aware that Chip Kelly’s team was not much of a contender outside of 2013.

This Thursday, the circumstances are different. Sure, the Panthers look like they are getting back to being contenders once again. But the Eagles are headed in that same direction. They play with a purpose, take care of the ball and have established leadership. Most of all though, they force teams to make mistakes while minimizing their own.

If you can recall, the Eagles have a way of getting Newton to turn the ball over. In his five-year career span, Newton has faced the Eagles three times. In two of the three most recent games, Newton turned the ball over six times with an average QB rating of 65.35. He was also sacked 10 times between those two games. Although the Panthers may have improved up front, the Eagles did as well.

What about the ground game?

Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has praised Newton for his passing abilities this week. But that isn’t what Cam is exactly known for. The 6’5″ giant who is known for his quick and hard running also has the ability to pick up plenty of yards on the ground. He is easily one of the biggest double-threats at quarterback in today’s game. Although defenses may struggle against Newton’s ground game, the Eagles have been successful in containing it in the past.

In the 2014 and 2015 games that Cam has played against the Eagles, he has rushed for only 26 yards off of six attempts. The Eagles have done a great job at having linebackers spy on Newton in the past and there is no doubt that they will do that again this week.

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Can he be stopped?

The Eagles defensive front is recognized as one of the leagues best. Even though they have been without their star defensive tackle, Fletcher Cox, they have still been a problem for offensive lines. Now that Cox may be able to play on Thursday, the Panthers offensive line will be facing their biggest challenge to date regardless on whether he plays or not.

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There is no doubt that the Eagles have the manpower and talent on defense to stop Newton. It all comes down to how they execute. The pressure that the defensive front puts on Newton will dictate how the Panthers offense operates. If the Eagles can get to him early and often, we could see multiple turnover’s on Thursday night.