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Panthers Defense Seeks Redemption Against Patriots In Week 4

Panthers defense Gregor Smith via Flickr


Panthers Defense Seeks Redemption Against Patriots

We are wrapping up the first quarter of the season in the NFL, and every team wants a win this week. Foxborough will be where the Panthers look to bounce back against New England. The series is tied 3-3 and includes the Patriots 32-29 victory over Carolina in Super Bowl XXXVIII. The Panthers defense will need to be as good as it was that year if they want to win.

Will Carolina’s Offense Show Up?

The Panthers want to beat the defending Super Bowl champs at home in Foxborough. To do this, their offense has to wake up fast. Carolina’s offense ranks last in the league in yards per game and 31st in points per game. Cam Newton has been nothing short of a disappointment so far this season, and the only upside has been Christian McCaffrey. Facing a Patriots offense that is first in the NFL in scoring, the Panthers have no room for error.

Cam Newton has had much of the blame put on his shoulders so far this season and rightfully so. Cam has not played well, and everyone knows this offense is only as good as Cam is. However, Cam is not the only one to blame. This offensive line has been a complete disappointment so far this season. Matt Kalil, whom the Panthers brought in to protect Cam’s blind side, has yet to handle such a job. In fact, he and Ereck Flowers are tied for most sacks given up by a starting left tackle. The Patriots defense has not been great this year, but that does not mean this offense will not be in for a battle.

Panthers Defense Faces Another Great Quarterback

Last week, Drew Brees chewed up and spat out the Panthers defense. It is no doubt that the last quarterback they want to see is Tom Brady, who is coming off a five-touchdown game against the Texans. Carolina’s lackluster secondary was put on full display last week, and it is a no-brainer that Brady will look to do the same. With Brandon Cooks finally having his first breakout game as a Patriot last week, Carolina will have to do anything possible to keep New England off-balance. First things first, they have to get back to pressuring the quarterback.

In Week 3, the Panthers came into their matchup against the Saints as one of the best pass rushing teams in the league. Drew Brees countered that with getting the ball out fast and getting great protection up front. As great as Tom Brady is, he tends to look a little human when he is constantly under pressure. The Panthers will need their top pass rushers to be at the top of their game. With Julius Peppers status being questionable, they will be thin on the defensive line. If Tom Brady is going to get the same amount of time that Drew Brees got then it will be another long day for this defense.

Injuries Piling Up For Carolina

Injuries have been a major problem for Carolina this season, and that trend continues. They have already lost tight end Greg Olsen with a broken foot, and now Pro Bowl center Ryan Kalil is out for the Patriots game. As an offensive line that’s already struggling, they cannot afford to have their best player missing. Carolina will also be without starting corner Daryl Worley on Sunday as he is out with a shoulder injury. Rookie receiver Curtis Samuel will also miss the game due to a back injury.

The Panthers are hopeful that Julius Peppers will not miss the game due to his shoulder injury. Good news is that Kelvin Benjamin is expected to start Sunday after being a full participant in practice on Friday.

Moreover, The Winner Is . . .

Carolina has not played well, but they have benefited from playing mediocre teams. After losing to the Saints embarrassingly, it is hard to see them going to New England and beating the Patriots.

Prediction: 38-24 Patriots