What to Watch For: Panthers vs Patriots

Sunday, 01 Oct, 2017

Carolina Panthers Ed Dickson will get his second start of the season in Week 4 against the New England Patriots.

Panthers defensive tackle Kyle Love played for the Patriots from 2010-13.

The rosters for both teams have undergone significant changes since 2013, though several key players from that final play still remain.

The Panthers and Patriots will kickoff at 1:00 Eastern Time in New England.

In terms of the coaching staff, Bill Belichick, when asked about it by the Panthers media brigade, brushed it aside fairly quickly.

Here he is talking about a possible protest during the team's next game against the New England Patriots. I can't let a moment go by without shedding light to that: A person that does have the talent to play, a person that should be in this league, but I feel as if he's not getting his just due because of his views. Through three games, Carolina is allowing just 252 yards per game.

Newton, the league MVP in 2015, had offseason surgery on his throwing shoulder and played only a few snaps in the preseason. Newton has one or less touchdown passes in four of his last five games.

This did not sit well with at least one former Patriots player who said he felt ashamed of the "so-called men" who took a knee.

The Patriots needed Tom Brady to work his magic to avoid being upset by a two-touchdown underdog at home in Week 3.

Given what relatively mobile quarterbacks like Alex Smith and Deshaun Watson have done to the Patriots defense this season, however, this may be the week that Cam looks like Cam again. The quarterback has thrown for 1,092 yards with eight touchdown passes and no interceptions in three games. The result was a 31-yard catch and run by D'Onta Freeman.

Brady ranks second in the National Football League in passing yards (1,092) behind Aaron Rodgers. The Panthers have allowed just 251.7 yards and 13.3 points per game through three contests.

Carolina and New England will meet for the seventh time since 1995.

Carolina came right back with a dominating six play scoring drive, during which it picked up five first downs. But up until last week, the first-round draft pick had been fairly quiet. Since then he's thrown for around 700 yards and nine touchdowns. It was a compromise that the teams seemed happy with, but Mr. Trump was quick to claim it as progress and a victory for himself. The Panthers are averaging just 15 points and less than 280 offensive yards per game so far this year.

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will pose a challege for Carolina's linebackers this Sunday. Houston, a team that had scored 20 total points in its first two games, found a way to hang 33 on the Super Bowl favorites on the road. The Wolfpack (3-1, 1-0) are 12½-point favorites in what's clearly a trap game for them - coming immediately after their upset at Florida State and before a visit from Heisman Trophy victor Lamar Jackson and No. 17 Louisville. They couldn't do it last week at home against a prolific Saints offense. Have the Panthers fixed their mistakes in time to face Tom Brady?