The New England Patriots get to display their talents in primetime Monday night when they take on the Carolina Panthers.
Tom E. Curran broke down the matchup into his three keys for a Patriots win on SportsNet Central.
The first key is keeping Carolina’s offense off the field. Cam Newton and the rest of the Panthers’ offense are efficient on third downs and have the fewest three-and-outs in the NFL.
Joe Vellano said the most important thing is stopping Carolina’s run game, which could help limit the Panthers to third-and-longs instead of third-and-shorts.
Curran’s second key for the Patriots is to utilize their full arsenal of offensive weapons. With Shane Vereen expected to play, and with Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski having another week under their belts, Tom Brady will have an assortment of players to go to.
“Carolina is dealing with a Patriots team that nobody has seen this season because of the complement of players,” Curran said. “Look out Carolina. Patriots take advantage of that unknown and exploit it against a defense that hasn’t seen an offense with a quarterback in the ilk of Tom Brady.”
The final key is the play of the Patriots’ safeties has to be tight on downfield throws. Duron Harmon will fill in for the injured Steve Gregory this week, and Harom will have his hands full trying to contain Steve Smith and Greg Olson.
“Don’t get beat deep, don’t allow the Carolina Panthers to have explosive plays,” Curran said. “Make them earn it down the field and see if they can step into it a little bit offensively.”