WEEK 4 NFL PREVIEW: PANTHERS VS PATRIOTS by: Cameron Rivers
The Carolina Panthers first big challenge this season will be in Week 4 when they travel to Foxborough, to take on the defending Super Bowl champion the New England Patriots. Carolina is coming off of a beating at home from the New Orleans Saints, while the Patriots come into Sunday’s game after a thrilling last second victory at home. Look for Carolina’s offense to continue to struggle on Sunday.
Panthers Pass Offense vs Patriots Pass Defense – It can not be stressed enough how much Tight End Greg Olsen’s injury impacts the Panthers , not only is he a great tight end, he is a leader in the locker room and on the field. Cam Newton surely misses Greg Olsen, throwing three interceptions last Sunday. The Panthers offense this season has been looking as bad as I have seen in a long time. But the New England’s pass defense isn’t what it used to be. Remember Week 1 against the Chiefs? New England ranks 31st in the NFL in opponent passing yards, giving up an average of 350 yards. With the absence of Greg Olsen, look for Christian McCaffrey to step up and become featured more in the passing game. If Cam Newton and the Carolina offense go to Foxborough looking like they have done all year, this will be a easy win for New England.
Patriots Pass Offense vs Panthers Pass Rush-There is only one way to beat Tom Brady, and that is to hit him. The Panthers have a very good pass rush and is amongst the top 10 in the NFL in team sacks. But Tom Brady is on fire right now! Last week he ripped the Houston Texans’ defense, throwing for 5 touchdowns and 378 yards. Panthers must make it a priority to get to Tom Brady and get as many sacks and hurries as they can, because Patriots come into this week averaging over 30 points per game and their only getting hotter by the week. Tom Brady turned 40 this year but he is still the best quarterback in the league and will rip a defense apart if he has the time.
BRANDIN COOKS VS JAMES BRADBERRY: Last Sunday Brandin Cooks caught the game winning touchdown against the Houston Texans with 23 seconds remaining. The New England Patriots struck gold when they received Brandin Cooks this offseason via trade from the New Orleans Saints. Cooks adds a dimension that this Patriot team hasn’t seen at a receiver since Randy Moss, and that’s speed. This week he matches up with Panther’s #1 corner James Bradberry. If you have seen just a glimpse of a Panthers’ games last year you would know how bad the secondary was, throwing in rookies James Bradberry and Darryl Worley into the first since week 1. But James Bradberry has made much improvement in year two. Bradberry is a big physical corner with very good athletic ability.
Prediction: While the New England Patriots offense has been looking nothing short of amazing, the Panthers offense have been anything but “high powered” The defense however is very stout but they have given up more than five 20 yard or more plays against the Saints last week. The Patriots are at home week 4, expect them to defeat the Carolina Panthers handily. The New England Patriots win this game 31-3.