The New England Patriots are set to take on the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football in what promises to be one of the best matchups of the weekend. Bill Belichick's Patriots are well rested after their bye week, and full of confidence after torching the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 55-31 victory on November 3. The Panthers are also riding high, fresh off a 10-9 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
Schedule & Location:
Monday, November 18, 8:40 PM (EST) on ESPN
Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina
Tom Brady finally broke out of his slump against Pittsburgh, passing for 252 yards in the first half - more than he'd passed for in five of his games so far this season. He ended up with 432 yards and four touchdowns, both season highs.
It looks like Brady is finally clicking with his offensive weapons, and with the stretch run approaching, it couldn't come at a better time. Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola are all as healthy as they're going to get, and if Brady establishes a rhythm early, even Carolina's excellent defense could pay the price.
The Panthers are still dangerous more because of their defense than their offense, but even without any elite players at skill positions to help out, Cam Newton is playing like a legitimate NFL superstar. Newton has been able to spread the ball effectively to a variety of receivers, and although Steve Smith isn't the player he used to be, he's still too dangerous to take for granted.
Advantage: New England
The Patriots could have one of their best defensive players back on the field, as star corner Aqib Talib is listed as questionable and could make his first appearance since October 13 against the Saints. The Patriots defense has struggled to overcome a number of other injuries so far this year, with NT Vince Wilfork and LB Jerod Mayo both out for the season.
The Panthers, on the other hand, have one of the NFL's best defensive units. Holding San Francisco's offense to three field goals illustrates just how dominant they can be, and the Patriots will need to find a way to succeed where the 49ers failed. The Panthers give up just 283.1 yards of offense per game, and without a proven rushing attack, Tom Brady will need to make sure his excellent play against the Steelers carries over if the Patriots want to leave Carolina with a win.
- Tom Brady passes for one touchdown and one interception
- The Panthers defense holds New England to under 300 yards of total offense
- Carolina's defense makes the difference, and the Panthers win, 17-13Back to the New England Patriots Newsfeed