Thursday, November 14, 2013 Three keys to Monday night victory over Panthers


The New England Patriots return from their bye week to face off on Monday Night Football against the Carolina Panthers to close out week eleven of the 2013 NFL season. The Panthers, at 6-3, are coming off a huge victory on the road against the defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers.
Coming out of the bye week there are some areas that the Patriots have had unexpected success in the first half of the season and they will be under the spotlight in their upcoming prime time games on both sides of the ball. The play of safeties, the defensive tackles, and the offensive line are three areas to watch against the Panthers that will play a large role if the Patriots can win the game on Monday night:
1. The Patriots’ Safeties:
Forget free agent safety Ed Reed. Even if the Patriots decided to bring in the slow aging veteran cast-off at veteran’s minimum. They are not going to have many snaps for him to play due to the safety position being a position of strength. Quietly so far in 2013, the safeties have been the surprise of a vastly improved New England defense.
In fact, the duo of Devin McCourty and Steve Gregory have been easily the most effective tandem in the NFL to date. With McCourty graded by as the top safety in the league (+17.9 overall) and Gregory rated eleventh (+5.3) there is no competition in the league to match this dynamic duo.
Unfortunately, with Gregory sidelined at least a few more weeks with a broken thumb incurred in the Pittsburgh game, the Patriots will be forced to lean on their younger players. Fortunately, in the past two drafts, the Patriots have taken a safety in the second round (Tavon Wilson #48 overall) in 2012 and in the third round (Duron Harmon #91 overall) last year...Click here for much more:

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