New England Patriots at Carolina Panthers (-3, 46)
Cam Newton made a splashy entrance on the NFL scene, posting spectacular numbers that did not translate into wins for the Carolina Panthers and the former No. 1 overall pick. Newton may not be putting up head-spinning stats, but the victories keep piling up for the Panthers, who will go for their sixth consecutive win when they host the New England Patriots on Monday night. The Patriots had a bye week to prepare for Carolina following a 55-31 demolition of Pittsburgh on Nov. 3.
Although the Panthers scored at least 30 points in four straight games prior to last week's 10-9 win at San Francisco, they have been dominant on the other side of the ball, ranking second in the league in points allowed at 12.8 per game. "They're one of the best defenses in the league," New England quarterback Tom Brady said. "We have to play really well. I think our execution has to be at its best." The Patriots hold a two-game lead in the AFC East while Carolina is a game behind New Orleans in the NFC South.TV:
8:40 p.m. ET, ESPN LINE:
The Panthers opened at -1 and have been bet to -3. The total opened at 44.5 and has been bet up to 46. WEATHER:
It will be clear with temperatures in the low-50s with a 10 percent chance of rain.ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (7-2):
New England is coming off its best offensive performance of the season in the mauling of the Steelers, getting 432 yards and
four touchdown passes from Brady and 100-yard games from tight end Rob Gronkowski and wideouts Danny Amendola and rookie Aaron Dobson. Stevan Ridley complemented the aerial attack with 115 yards rushing and two TDs as the Patriots amassed 610 yards of total offense. The Patriots' defense has been rocked by season-ending injuries to Pro Bowl nose tackle Vince Wilfork and middle linebacker Jerod Mayo, but could get back star cornerback Aqib Talib, who has been sidelined the past three games by a hip injury.ABOUT THE PANTHERS (6-3):
Carolina's defense, led by tackling machine Luke Kuechly at linebacker, has surrendered 11.4 points during the winning streak
and limited San Francisco to three field goals and 151 total yards last week. Defensive ends Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy have combined for 13.5 sacks
- "We take what we want," Hardy said of a unit that ranks second overall (283.3 yards) and tied for fourth against the pass (201.3). Newton has not thrown for more than 249 yards during the five-game run, but he has seven scoring passes and three TD runs in that span while directing a ball-control offense that averages 127.8 yards on the ground.TRENDS:
* Patriots are 5-0 in their last five Monday Night games.
* Panthers are 5-0 ATS in their last five overall.
* Over is 4-1 in Patriots last five Monday Night games.
* Over is 13-3-2 in Panthers last 18 versus a team with a winning record.EXTRA POINTS
1. Brady is 13-4 on Monday night for the Patriots, who outlasted Carolina 32-29 in Super Bowl XXXVIII.
2. Second-year LB Kuechly is averaging a shade under 10 tackles in 25 career games.
3. New England has forced a turnover in 36 straight games, the longest active streak in the league.