NFL Preseason 2014 Preview: New England Patriots vs. Carolina Panthers

Pats vs. Panthers

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Fans of the New England Patriots do not remember the Week 11 Monday Night Football game last season very fondly. It was a road game against the Carolina Panthers which they lost 24-20.

Fans of both teams know what I’m talking about. It was a great game, but on the last play of the game, the back judge Terrence Miles threw a flag in the end zone. It looked like Panthers LB Luke Kuechly had mugged Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski, but the refs deliberated and then with virtually no explanation, the flagged was picked up and the game was over.

Well let’s run it back! Carolina (1-1) will play at New England (1-1) in a Week 3 preseason matchup on Friday Aug. 22 at 7:30 ET. Both the Patriots and Panthers won their respective divisions last season, and even though the Patriots made it to the AFC Championship game, both failed to make it to the Super Bowl. Both teams have their sights set on playing for and winning the Lombardi Trophy this season.

This game will be the Patriots’ final home preseason game of 2014. Unlike the previous two weeks where the Patriots participated in joint practices with their preseason opponents, they are competing against only themselves this week. The Patriots and Panthers are not holding joint practices in anticipation of Friday’s game. This game will mark the second time in as many weeks that the Patriots will face a team they previous played (and beat) in the Super Bowl.

Last week, they were victorious against the Philadelphia Eagles, who they beat in Super Bowl XXXIX. The Patriots played the Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII and ended up hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.

Friday’s game will mark the seventh preseason meeting between Carolina and New England (Patriots lead 4-2 in the preseason series), but the first since 2007 when the Patriots won 24-7 at Carolina. The Panthers are 3-2 against the Patriots in the regular season, but the series is knotted up at three wins apiece when the playoffs are taken into account, thanks to that thrilling Super Bowl victory by the Patriots.

The third preseason game is usually a dress rehearsal of sorts for just about every team. Most starters will get more playing time in the third preseason game than the other three preseason games combined. The score itself won’t necessarily matter (the Detroit Lions went 4-0 in the preseason the year they finished 0-16), but teams want to be showing significant improvement.  Teams want to avoid big (or any) injuries and prove they are ready for the regular season to begin.

Carolina fans will be watching QB Cam Newton‘s ankle (had surgery in the offseason), and Patriots fans will be keeping an eye on several players looking to make a splash.

Justin Patrick is a New England Patriots writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @calling_allfans, like him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

 

 


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