Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Eagles @ Panthers: OL vs. DL

The Birds travel to Carolina this weekend to kickoff the 2009 NFL season against the reigning NFC South Champion Panthers. Carolina finished last season 12-4 with a perfect 8-0 regular season home record while the Eagles were a mediocre 9-6-1 on the season, barely squeaking into the playoffs. Both teams would eventually lose to Arizona, the Panthers in Round 2 and the Eagles in the NFC Championship. Not the easiest matchup for the Eagles, especially considering Andy’s opening day record.

Today we’ll take a look at the matchups in the trenches.

Eagles O-Line: LT Jason Peters, LG Todd Herremans, C Jamaal Jackson, RG Stacy Andrews, RT Shawn Andrews

The Eagles offensive line gave up a franchise-record 23 sacks last season, but with the additions of Jason Peters and Stacy Andrews hope to right the ship in 2009. Injuries kept the group from working together throughout the preseason with Todd Herremans going down due to a stress fracture in his foot, and Shawn Andrews, who is moving from RG to RT, missing all of training camp and most of the preseason while getting his Michael Phelps on. As of yesterday, Andrews is slated to start in Sunday’s season opener, but how effective he will be is anyone’s guess. If this group plays anywhere near the level we’ve seen in the last month, we might as well prepare for the Kolb/Vick era to begin in September. Let’s hope they get it together sooner rather than later.


Panthers D-Line: LE Tyler Brayton, LT Nick Hayden, RT Damione Lewis, RE Julius Peppers

Carolina lost DT Maake Kemoeatu for the season on the first day of training camp practice when the 6-5, 345 pounder ruptured his Achilles. Stopping the run figures to be a major concern for the Panthers without him, the team gave up 301 yards to the Giants in Week 16 with Kemoeatu out of the lineup and it could be a long season if no one fills the void he left. Moving outside, the Panthers registered 37 sacks last year, 14.5 of those by Julius Peppers, and with him making $1 million per game this year the pressure will be on him to produce again. Tyler Brayton is a decent DE but not a top-notch pass rusher, one of the reasons the Panthers traded a first-round pick in 2010 for the right to draft Florida State's Everette Brown. Brown is expected to challenge Brayton for playing time this year.

DW Says: It’s hard to say, but the Eagles poor line play in the preseason tips the scale in Carolina’s favor. McNabb is probably already having nightmares about Julius Peppers. If the Eagles live up to their pre-preseason potential than things could sway in the opposite direction, but for now we’ll take the Panthers.

Panthers O-Line: LT Jordan Gross, LG Travelle Wharton, C Ryan Kalil, RG Keydrick Vincent, RT Jeff Otah

Carolina's offensive line was pretty damn good last year, clearing the way for a franchise-record 2,437 rushing yards and 30 rushing touchdowns while allowing only 20 sacks. Even worse news for the Birds is that the Panthers will have all five starters back from last year's team. Right Tackle Jeff Otah looks like a great young player, a great young player the Eagles could have drafted last year instead of trading away their 1st Round Pick. Yeah, we’re still bitter.


Eagles D-Line: LE Victor Abiamiri, LT Mike Patterson, RT Brodrick Bunkley, RE Trent Cole

The Eagles rotated eight players up front last season, and hope to do the same again this year. Patterson and Bunkley are one of the league's better run-stopping tackle tandems, and look to improve on an impressive 2008 campaign. Trent Cole has 29.5 sacks over the last three seasons and his backup, Darren Howard, actually led the team last year with 10 sacks. On the other side of the line is Victor Abiamiri, the always-injured DE with a lot to prove. The line would be enhanced immensely if he can contribute effectively along with backups Juqua Parker and Chris Clemons.

DW Says: This is another tough one. Neither unit should dominate the other, but expect the Eagles DT’s to neutralize Carolina’s rushing attack. Jake Delhomme is a stiff, and if they can get pressure from the line he’ll turn into a turnover machine. With that said, we’re going with the Eagles to win the trench battle on the defensive side of the ball. Screw Carolina.


1 comment:

  1. I think that the Panthers have the edge in this category. Especially with the running game behind that O Line. Shawn Andrews is a fat lazy piece of shit. Overall though Jake Delhomme is a bird licker and he will blow it literally and figuratively. Eagles win, F the Panthers.