MNF: Patriots at Panthers

Carolina Panthers (6-3)
22nd ranked offense…..10th in rushing…..28th in passing
top ranked defense in football…..3rd vs rush…..4th vs pass
leads league in time of possession (33:48)…..5th fewest penalties (44)
Cam Newton taking leadership
Three-headed backfield: DeAngelo Williams (steady), Jonathan Stewart (fresh legs), Mike Tolbert (versatile)
Dependable Steve Smith, solid Greg Olsen
Receiving core is nothing special: Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn Jr. (Journeyman Returner), Domenic Hixon (from NYG)
Defense led by 2nd year MLB Luke Kuechly
Nasty front-seven: DEs Charles Johnson, Greg Hardy; standout rookie DT Star Lotulelei
Standout OLB Thomas Davis, solid OLB Chase Blackburn
Just added depth by resigning former LB, injured on Dallas roster for half season, Dan Connor
if there is a weakness on the best D in league, no-name secondary
CBs Captain Munnerlyn, Melvin White (rookie), Drayton Florence (1st year with team; journeyman from SD, DEN, JAC)
Safeties Quentin Mikell (1st year with team; solid journeyman from PHI, STL), Mike Mitchell (1st year with team from OAK)
Mikell played under defensive coordinator Sean McDermott with Eagles
Remaining Schedule
at MIA, vs TB, at NO, vs NYJ, vs NO, vs ATL
New England Patriots (7-2)
11th ranked offense…..9th in rushing…..18th in passing
20th ranked defense…..29th vs rush…..12th vs pass
3rd fewest penalties (41)…..7th in points per game (26)
Tom Brady coming on as of late, threw 4 TDs and posted 55 points against Steelers, coming off bye week
Building chemistry with rookie WR Aaron Dobson, Julian Edelman back in the slot
Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola back on the field, at the same time
Also, return (broken wrist) versatile Shane Vereen, great week 1 at BUF (14 carries 101 yards, 6 catches 58 yards)
Plenty of options in backfield: Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen,LeGarrette Blount, Brandon Bolden
Lost key players up the middle of their defense: NT Vince Wilfork, LB Jerrod Mayo
Now anchored by 2nd year defensive lineman Chandler Jones
Return of Aqib Talib, should shadow Steve Smith tonight
Depsite rotating players in secondary, causing turnovers
Traded Eagles for DT Isaac Sopoaga
Remaining Schedule
vs DEN, at HOU, vs CLE, at MIA, at BAL, vs BUF
Prediction: NE 24 CAR 20
Patriots on the road because the offense is healthy, Carolina is one-dimensional which means Bill Belichick had a bye week to scheme against. The Panthers have been impressive, especially with last week’s win at San Francisco. However, the Patriots just put up 55 points on Pittsburgh and get cornerback Aqib Talib back in time to shadow receiver Steve Smith.