Key Carolina Panthers to play multiple series at New England Patriots
Fans will get a good look at the Carolina Panthers against New England.
The Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots are meeting for the seventh consecutive season on Thursday night in Foxborough. Only two of those contests counted, with Carolina winning both (2013 and 2017), but every other year these two franchises have used one another as a measuring stick during preseason play.
Historically meeting in the third game, where coaches typically play their starting personnel the most, Carolina is only 1-3 but it’s not the outcome fans should be worried about – choosing instead to focus on the matchups early in the evening.
Coach Ron Rivera has indicated quarterback Cam Newton will play “three or four good possessions” this week. As the franchise quarterback, you can bet he’ll be surrounded by what figures to be the starting unit over this same time frame, giving everyone a good look at the Panthers first-team offense against the defending Super Bowl champions.
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Running back Christian McCaffrey has yet to carry the football and tight end Greg Olsen hasn’t caught a pass, but both are likely to be alongside Newton in the huddle at Gillette Stadium. On paper, Carolina is expected to feature a dynamic offense with plenty of available weapons and while Norv Turner isn’t going to dig too deep into the playbook during the preseason – how well Newton is protected and his arm strength should both be visible.
Defensively, linebacker Luke Kuechly will likely take the field behind a revamped front line. If the Patriots follow suit in playing their first-team, seeing how much pressure this unit can put on Tom Brady should be fun to watch and a great indication of what to expect during the regular season.
Opposing teams reached Brady just 21 times during regular season play and once in the playoffs during 2018. For comparison, Newton was taken down in the pocket 29 times while playing in five fewer games.
The Panthers and Patriots kick off preseason game three, Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. ET.