The New England Patriots will travel to Charlotte to take on the red hot Carolina Panthers in a Monday Night showdown.
The Patriots will face their first physical team since their loss to the New York Jets on October 20th.
The Patriots achilles heel has been against physical teams and the Panthers front 7 is boasting a very good, a very physical defense.
Can New England breakthrough and finally prove they can legit go deep in the playoffs against physical defenses?
Here are three players who can impact the game for New England in a big way.
1. CB Aqib Talib
– Obviously if he plays he can impact the game in a big way. His presence alone is enough to boost this defense and make them a lot better. Talib and Dennard should overpower the receivers for the Panthers and win that battle for New England. New England will be ok if he doesn’t play and will survive if he only plays a little but Talib makes them better in every way.
2. The Offensive Line
– The offensive line has a tall task Monday night in protecting Tom Brady.
The protection hasn’t been good as usual and Brady has been getting hit too much. Some of the blame falls on Brady, the line, and the receivers, so all 3 will need to bring their A game Monday if New England wants to win. The entire line has to step up and not leave Solder as the only good blocker on the team. The line has a lot to prove and they can take a big step in the right direction Monday night by keeping the pressure off the QB.
This group will determine the offensive production and if New England wins.
3. RB Shane Vereen
– The Panthers have the 2nd best rush defense in the league so Ridley and company could be in trouble Monday night but Vereen may be the X – Factor.
Vereen isn’t your typical runningback. He can line up in the back field and also line up as a slot receiver. Vereen is fast and quick with good hands that make him an obvious passing threat. Vereen catching screens, and passes up the field could give the Patriots that added versatile weapon they will need against a very good rush defense.