CHARLOTTE – As much as the players and coaches might want to downplay any added significance, Thursday's primetime game between the 4-1 Panthers and 4-1 Eagles has some extra juice.
And although it's early, this is a battle between NFC division leaders that could impact things in January.
"It's really cool to be a part of," linebacker Thomas Davis said. "You want to face a team when they're at their best. That's where Philly is right now. They are playing some really good football. This is a fight for essentially the No. 1 seed right now in the NFC.
"We feel like we've left some plays out there on the field, but at the same time we're 4-1 and we're not pouting about that one bit."
The Eagles are coming off a dominant 34-7 victory over the Cardinals. Philadelphia's only loss came on the road against the now 5-0 Chiefs in Week 2.
The Panthers are returning home to what will assuredly be an electric atmosphere at Bank of America Stadium after two impressive road wins against the Patriots and Lions.
"We're facing a team that's feeling pretty good – as they should – and we're feeling pretty good about ourselves as well," quarterback Cam Newton said. "For us, we have to find an edge. You don't know when that play or situation is going to come Thursday, but we just have to be ready for it.
"We're looking forward to playing in front of the fans at Bank of America, and we're going to need everybody's hands on deck. Hopefully, that homefield advantage will give us the edge that we need."
Any edge will be more than welcome against an Eagles team that's soaring into Charlotte for this marquee matchup.
"Really excited. This will be a real fun one," rookie running back Christian McCaffrey said. "It's a great team coming in here. We know we're going to have to play extremely well to beat them."
View photos of the week of practice leading up to the Panthers' game against the Eagles.