Cam Newton Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers are favored over the Philadelphia Eagles on "Thursday Night Football," according to the Week 6 betting odds. Pictured: Cam Newton is all smiles after the Panthers defeated the Detroit Lions 27-24 at Ford Field on Oct. 8, 2017 in Detroit. Getty Images

Week 6 features the best “Thursday Night Football” matchup of the 2017 NFL season, thus far, when the Carolina Panthers host the Philadelphia Eagles. The two teams both sit in first place and are tied for the best record in the NFC.

The latest betting odds have Carolina favored by three points at home, via OddsShark, and the over/under is 45.5. Here’s a closer look at the Week 6 game, as well as a prediction against the spread:

Why the Panthers could cover the spread

Through just five weeks, Carolina has some real quality wins on their resume. Of course, there is the Week 4 win at New England, but the team’s Week 5 victory in Detroit is a big one, as well. Even beating the Bills at home is an impressive win, considering Buffalo is looking like a legitimate threat to make the playoffs.

Beating the Eagles would be another quality win for the Panthers, who sit atop what might be the best division in the NFC. Carolina has shown that they can win in different ways, winning low-scoring affairs in Weeks 1 and 2, while needing at least 27 points to win in Weeks 4 and 5.

Amidst questions regarding what might be wrong with Cam Newton, the 2015 MVP has returned to looking like one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks. He’s totaled 671 passing yards, six touchdowns and one interception in last two weeks, posting passer ratings of 130.8 and 141.8. Including the playoffs, the Panthers have won the last 18 games in which Newton has had a passer rating of 90.0 or better.

If Philadelphia has one glaring weakness, it’s probably their secondary. Only two teams have allowed more yards through the air. You can throw on the Eagles if you stop their pass rush, and few quarterbacks are better at avoiding pressure than Newton.

Even though they’ve faced Tom Brady and Drew Brees in two of their five games, Carolina still ranks fifth against the pass. Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis give the Panthers one of the best linebacking corps in the league. Scoring against them on the road on a short week won’t be an easy task.

Why the Eagles could cover the spread

Other than the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs, the Philadelphia Eagles have arguably been the most impressive team through the first five weeks of the season. They’ve already won twice away from Philadelphia, and their only loss came on the road against Kansas City. With sole possession of first place in the NFC East, the Eagles have established themselves as the clear favorites in the division.

The Eagles got off to a similar start a year ago, winning their first three games before dropping nine of their final 13 contests. Philadelphia’s play dropped off when Carson Wentz started playing like a rookie. The quarterback has shown no signs of slowing down as he approaches the midway point of his second season.

Beating the Cardinals at home wasn’t especially impressive. Scoring 34 points against Arizona’s defense, however, can’t be overlooked. The Cardinals entered Sunday’s game with one of the league’s best pass defenses, and all Wentz did was complete 21 of 30 passes for 304 yards and four touchdowns. He hasn’t had a bad game all season, posting a passer rating of better than 91.0 in all four of the team’s wins and still managing to throw for 333 yards and two scores in the loss to the Chiefs.

Good quarterbacks have hurt the Panthers this season. In consecutive weeks, Carolina allowed Brees and Brady to combine for 527 passing yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions while completing well over 70 percent of their passes. Wentz isn’t in the same class as Brady and Brees, but he could put up some decent numbers against the defense that ranks 25th in opponents’ passer rating. It also helps that Wentz is playing behind one of the best offensive lines in football.

Defensively, Philadelphia ranks second against the run, giving up just 62.8 yards per game on the ground. The Panthers are 27th in the league, averaging just 3.4 yards per carry. If Newton plays anything like he did in the first three weeks of the season, the Panthers won’t beat the Eagles.


It wouldn’t be a surprise to see either team win Thursday night. As long as the betting line doesn’t go any higher than a field goal, it might be difficult to bet against Newton at home with the way he’s been playing in recent weeks.

Carolina over Philadelphia, 26-20