Panthers hope to get their Phil

For many Panthers fans, games at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia still conjure up memories of the 2003 NFC Championship game. It is the site of, arguably, the greatest victory in franchise history, the 14-3 conquest that catapulted Carolina into Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston.



Thursday's tilt between the Panthers and Eagles is just a preseason matchup, though, so the nostalgia effect is minimal. A handful of players remain from both rosters, but the vast majority probably watched that game on TV. Some were in high school.

The Panthers prepped for another season by jumping on the Indianapolis Colts right away in last week's preseason opener, a 23-20 overtime victory. Defensive end Julius Peppers and the offensive line looked particularly impressive, something Panthers fans were hoping to see. But they also wanted to see starting quarterback Jake Delhomme, and all they got was one incomplete fade throw to Muhsin Muhammad in the end zone.


Delhomme
With several wide receivers unavailable to them, look for the Panthers to try and build on their strong performance in rushing the football last Friday. This may again translate to few attempts for Delhomme, but it should be a greater test for DeAngelo Williams and Company.

Under John Fox, the Panthers had won 16 of 18 preseason games before playing at Philadelphia last season. A 27-10 loss to the Eagles started a three-game skid, snapped by last week's win over the Colts.

Look for the Panthers to give a lot of playing time to players who are battling for the final roster spots, meaning the stars who shone brightly last week may not be on the field very long this week.

As for the Eagles, they are coming off of a 16-10 loss to in-state rival Pittsburgh, but they got good news with the re-signing of star running back Brian Westbrook, who could see action versus the Panthers.

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