Shane Vereen is active for the first time since New England's Week 1 win over Buffalo. The running back broke his wrist after racking up 101 rushing and 58 receiving yards in the opener against Buffalo. It will be interesting to see how big of a workload Vereen gets in his long-awaited return.
He can certainly give fellow third-down back Brandon Bolden, who is inactive Monday night, a break. Running backs coach Ivan Fears recently told The Boston Globe that Bolden (knee) has been playing through pain and could use "relief." He gets it tonight.
Another key player returns to action in Aqib Talib. The cornerback injured a hip in New England's October 13 game against New Orleans. The Patriots have gone 2-1 in his absence, but can only benefit from the comeback of one of the league's best corners this season.
Defensive backs Alfonzo Dennard (knee) and Steve Gregory (thumb) are out, as per Friday's injury report.
The full list of Patriots inactives:
CB - Alfonzo Dennard (Knee)
S - Steve Gregory (Thumb)
RB - Leon Washington (Ankle)
DE - Jake Bequette (Healthy scratch)
LB - Steve Beauharnais (Healthy scratch)
OG - Chris Barker (Healthy scratch)
RB - Brandon Bolden (Knee)
Starting linebacker Chase Blackburn is sidelined for Carolina, as expected. He re-injured his right foot during Carolina's victory over San Francisco. Rookie A.J. Klein filled in for him that day, and will likely get his first start Monday night.
Inactive for the Panthers:
LB - Chase Blackburn (Foot)
TE Ben Hartsock (Knee)
G - Chris Scott (Knee)
WR - Tavarres King (Healthy scratch)
WR - Marvin McNutt (Healthy scratch)
RB - Kenjon Barner (Healthy scratch)
DE - Frank Alexander (Healthy scratch)