TV Schedule: Monday, Nov. 18, 8:40 p.m. ET, ESPN
Stadium: Bank of America Stadium
Weather: High 71, Low 55
Line: Carolina (-2.5)
After a week in which they dominated the surging San Francisco 49ers, the Carolina Panthers have proven they might just be for real and this week’s game will be another measuring test. Cam Newton and the Panthers have been impressive this season, racking up a 6-3 record and taking down top teams on the way to that record. Newton has passed for 1,970 yards and 13 touchdowns on the season while also rushing for 268 yards and four touchdowns. Steve Smith has surpassed tight end Greg Olsen as the team’s top receiver, catching 42 passes for 450 yards and three scores on the year. DeAngelo Williams has been impressive in the run game, racking up 565 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
On the other side of the field, the New England Patriots have experienced a bit of a power outage this season and it looks like Tom Brady is starting to hit his stride again through 10 weeks. The Patriots are 7-2 and in first place and this will be the biggest test for the Panthers on the season thus far. Brady has passed for 2,256 yards and 13 touchdowns on the season while transforming Julian Edelman from unknown receiver to reliable wide out, hitting Edelman 49 times for 473 yards and two touchdowns. With Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola back, it looks like this offense can only get better. Stevan Ridley leads the rushing attack with 514 yards and six touchdowns on the ground.
Defensively, the Patriots rank 21st in the league in total yards allowed per game as well as 30th in rushing yards allowed in the league. However, they do excel in keeping teams out of the endzone, ranking seventh, and stopping the pass, ranking 12th in the country. The Panthers have one of the best defenses in the league this season, ranking second in total yards allowed per game as well as second in points allowed and rushing yards allowed.
PREDICTION: Patriots 27, Panthers 21