Game time: 1 p.m. ET
Venue: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
Where to watch: CBS
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Patriots -3.5
BetMGM: Patriots -3.5
Caesars: Patriots -3.5
Patriots: 4-4 (2nd place, AFC East)
Panthers: 4-4 (3rd place, NFC South)
Sean Murphy nailed his AFC South Total of the Year last Sunday in a game featuring the same Colts that will host the Jets on Thursday Night Football! Don't even consider making a move on this primetime AFC showdown before checking in with Murph first. Catch Sean’s and other plays available right now at the Shop Picks page, where you can find all of the Best Bets from our champion sports handicappers.
Patriots - Panthers preview and analysis
Patriots: won 27-24 at Chargers
Panthers: won 19-13 at Falcons
In a rematch of Super Bowl XXXVIII in which the two teams now won’t be playing for a Super Bowl any time soon, the New England Patriots will visit the Carolina Panthers on Sunday in Charlotte.
Both teams are coming off much-needed wins after falling into a bit of a slide. The Patriots are coming off a surprising 3-point upset at the Los Angeles Chargers. New England is looking for its third straight win after losing three of four; the Patriots also have a 41-point win over the New York Jets in that stretch. The wins came at a good time after losing to the Dallas Cowboys in overtime a few weeks ago.
Mac Jones threw for 218 yards on 18 of 35 passing, but the rookie continues to show flashes of what’s to come in the future. The New England offense has put up 25.8 points per game with its rookie quarterback, who can become the first rookie QB since Dak Prescott in 2016 to win his first four road starts.
Former Chargers safety Adrian Phillips had two interceptions against his former team, including one returned for a touchdown to help his new team get back to .500.
"All in all we made the plays that we needed to make in the fourth quarter, which is something we hadn't done as well early in the year," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "Obviously AP's two picks were the difference in the game. He does a good job of seeing the routes, the quarterback, and having vision on the ball."
Even though the Tom Brady era doesn’t exist anymore, the Patriots are getting by with their young players. Jones has developed a solid chemistry with receiver Jakobi Meyers, who has at least four receptions through eight games. Veteran pass catcher Nelson Agholor led the group with 60 yards against the Chargers.
The Panthers are back to .500 after ending their four-game losing streak Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons in a six-point victory. Carolina, which started the season 3-0, has not found consistency with Christian McCaffrey dealing with leg injuries that have kept him out for most of the season.
QB Sam Darnold is coming off a 266-yard performance in Atlanta to give head coach Matt Rhule one of his best starts as Carolina head coach. The Panthers defense held Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan to just 146 yards and two interceptions.
"This is probably what we should've done last week," Rhule said, referring to that embarrassing loss to the New York Giants the week prior.
This is going to be a fun matchup where both teams have a legitimate claim to victory. Not many quarterbacks are familiar with Belichick’s defensive schemes than Darnold. He struggled heavily in his time with the New York Jets against the Patriots, but that goes out the window at kickoff. Having weapons like DJ Moore or Robby Anderson will help and provide a tough challenge for New England.
However, given Jones’ strong play in SoFI Stadium last week, the young man looks more comfortable in an NFL pocket given every week. If McCaffrey doesn’t return from IR this week, it’s going to be a long week for the Panthers. Even if he does come back, I see the Patriots getting a close win on the road. Patriots by 5
The Patriots are 7-7 ATS in their last 14 as a road favorite.
The Patriots are 2-0 ATS this season after playing a game where the total exceeded 50 points.
The Panthers are 6-13 ATS at home in the past three seasons.
Players to watch
Patriots: Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne has two straight games of at least five receptions and 50 yards against NFC South opponents.
Panthers: Top receiver DJ Moore looks for his fourth straight game of at least 50 receiving yards. He comes in with six straight games of at least five receptions at home.
Passing: Mac Jones -- 1,997 yards, 9 TD, 6 INT
Rushing: Damien Harris -- 517 yards, 6 TD
Receiving: Jakobi Meyers -- 427 yards
Defense: Matt Judon -- 8 sacks
Passing: Sam Darnold -- 1,814 yards, 7 TD, 8 INT
Rushing: Chuba Hubbard -- 391 yards, 2 TD
Receiving: DJ Moore -- 645 yards, 3 TD
Defense: Haason Reddick -- 7.5 sacks
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