The Eagles are back on track at 3-3.
They are also atop the NFC East standings, where many picked them to be at the beginning of the season.
With their bye week looming in Week 8, the Eagles are looking to enter their break on a high note. It could be atall task as they'll head to face the Panthers in Carolina Sunday in another prime time affair (8:30 p.m. on NBC).
It's a rematch of last year's demolition at Lincoln Financial Field, where the Birds beat Carolina 45-21 to move to 7-2.
In that game, running back LeSean McCoy ran for just 19 yards on 11 carries -- but then-rookie wideout Jordan Matthews had a breakout game with 138yards and two touchdowns.
The Panthers' defense is much better this season and quarterback Cam Newton is playing the best football of his career as the team boasts a perfect 5-0 record. It will be a good test for the Eagles recently dynamic and game-changing defense.
Here are three things to watch for Sunday night:
Panthers pound it
Carolina may not have the most potent running game in football, but they could be the team most dedicated to establishing the run each game. They lead the NFL in rushing attempts per game.
And obviously as their record reflects, it's worked.
"The challenge is they are going to try to pound you and they have got a back in Jonathan [Stewart] who a big, physical downhill running back," Chip Kelly said."And then you have a quarterback – and it’s different than other zone-read-type teams you face where it' a quick, agile quarterback that's going to break outside -- in[Newton] who can pound you, too, because he's -- unlike many quarterbacks -- got to be the biggest quarterback in the league from that standpoint in terms of rushing.
The Eagles run-defense is in the middle of the road as far as rankings go. They are the 11th best run-D and allow just over 94 yards per game.
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Sam Bradford has lead the Eagles to back-to-back victories but is also on pace to shatter his personal worst for interceptions in a season.
With nine (and nine touchdown passes as well) through six games, Bradford threw three ugly picks last week in a 27-7 win against the Giants and threw two more in a win against the Saints the week before.
Though the defense has kept opposing offenses out of the end zone, ball-security has to be a top concern for the Eagles as the prepare for Carolina. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur says he has confidence in his QB.
"We had a couple of interceptions which you've got to eliminate, for whatever reason, and I think he will," Shurmur said. "I think he'll do that, and I think he'll continue to get better. He hasn't played a lot of football in the last two years, and we're bringing him back. We're fortunate enough to be winning games, however we're doing it, and this thing is a 16-game journey until hopefully you're in the playoffs competing to win it all."
Last year, the Eagles weak secondary -- arguably -- wasthe reason the team missed the playoffs.
What a difference a year makes.
With two of the best safeties in the NFL (based on their performance so far),Walter Thurmondand Malcolm Jenkins, leading the Eagles back end --and cornerbacksByron Maxwell, Nolan Carroll and Eric Rowe doing a pretty decent job alongside them --the unit has become an area of strength for Philly.
And though Pantherstight end Greg Olsen is a difficult matchup for any team, the Panthers are one of the worst groups in football through the air, ranking 30th of 32 teams with barely 200 yards per game.
Look for the Eagles secondary to shine once again, making their control of Cam Newton's read-option and the ground game the key for the Panthers to succeed offensively.