In week 10 of the 2013 NFL season, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots offense looked to be back to their old ways. En route to a blowout victory, the Patriots accrued 610 yards of total offense, including a 400-yard passing game from Brady, and racked up 55 points on the Pittsburgh Steelers.
A lot of the Pats offensive work came late in the game, particularly the fourth quarter. New England put up four touchdowns in the final period of play. Moreover, they were up against a Steelers team that has been a wreck defensively and a shell of their glory days on that side of the ball.
As the Patriots head into week 11, though, their offense will be put to the test far more than they were last week. New England welcomes the Carolina Panthers this week, a team that has won five straight games and that has been one of the best defensive units in the league this year.
Across the board, the Panthers may be the best defense in the league and are certainly in the top three. They rank second in the league against the pass, allowing just 201.3 yards per game through the air, and second against the run, conceding only 82 yards per game to opponents on the ground.
The Patriots’ offense looked like they were hitting their stride last week against Pittsburgh, but they haven’t proved it yet against a good defensive team. If they want to prove that they are for real this season and a legitimate playoff team, they need a strong showing against Carolina.