The injury news isn’t good for the Philadelphia Eagles. They’ve beaten the NFL odds just once in 10 games this year. Is a game against the lowly Carolina Panthers just what the doctor ordered for suffering Philly supporters?

Cam NewtonHave you ever had one of those dates that just couldn’t end soon enough? That’s the 2012 NFL season for the Eagles (3-7 SU, 1-8-1 ATS). They looked so good early on, winning three of their first four games. They haven’t won since. Injuries have ruined this team, yet with every loss, Philadelphia fans get angrier and angrier with head coach Andy Reid. 

That’s what you get when you root for laundry. The Eagles will be fielding a makeshift team on Monday Night Football against the Panthers (2-8 SU, 4-6 ATS), and the NFL betting lines are giving Philly as many as three points at home. That’s probably not generous enough. 

I’m a Running Back, Jim 

Philadelphia’s season just got a little worse. Quarterback Michael Vick (79.2 passer rating, 5.4 yards per carry) and running back LeSean McCoy (4.2 yards per carry) have both been ruled out for Monday night’s contest, both with concussions. 

Vick will be replaced once again by rookie Nick Foles, who posted a 58.9 passer rating in last week’s 31-6 loss to the Washington Redskins (–3.5 at home). McCoy was injured late in that contest and will be replaced by rookie Bryce Brown, who has carried the ball 32 times this year for 141 yards (4.4 yards per carry) in relief of McCoy. 

Running backs are more easily replaced than quarterbacks, but these are two of the better players at their position. Vick has been to the Pro Bowl four times, and McCoy made his debut last year after rushing for 1,309 yards and 17 touchdowns. Chad Millman’s latest PSVAR rankings (Point Spread Value Above Replacement) have Vick valued at three points and McCoy at 3.5 points, tied with Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice for tops among tailbacks. 

Bring Some Protection 

A concussion isn’t like a pulled hamstring or a sprained ankle – those are injuries that can happen in the open field without contact. Vick and McCoy, on the other hand, were squashed by opponents flooding through Philadelphia’s patchwork offensive line. Foles got much the same treatment from the Redskins, who sacked him four times and forced three fumbles, although none was turned over. 

Panthers QB Cam Newton (79.0 passer rating, 5.3 yards per carry) has also found himself picking turf out of his helmet ever since Pro-Bowl center Ryan Kalil went down in Week 5 with a Lisfranc injury. But that’s a drop in the bucket compared to Philadelphia’s situation. The Panthers have the same 1-4 SU and 2-3 ATS record this year before and after Kalil’s season-ending injury. 

Still, this has been a down year for Newton and for RB Jonathan Stewart, whose production has dropped from 5.4 to 3.6 yards per carry. Carolina’s offense as a whole ranks No. 19 in the NFL in efficiency, way down from No. 4 last year. But Philly’s offense has plummeted even further, from No. 8 to No. 28. 

Juan Gone to UTEP 

Meanwhile, Carolina’s defense has quietly improved from a league-worst No. 32 in efficiency to No. 8. The Eagles defense has a good start this year, but started unraveling when co-ordinator Juan Castillo was fired after the Week 6 overtime loss to the Detroit Lions (+3.5 away). Philadelphia has lost each of its four games since by at least 13 points. If Reid has truly screwed anything up this year, you’re looking at it. 

So, yeah, I’ll take Carolina. And I’m going to start preparing for the inevitable day when the NFL switches to flag football rules. You know it’s coming. 

NFL Picks: Take the Panthers –2.5 at 5Dimes

Be sure to read our early NFL picks play on this game.