The Panthers walked into San Francisco last week in what was viewed by many as a statement game type of matchup with the 49ers. They made their statement alright, winning the game 10-9. There's no question it was a defensive battle, but quarterback Cam Newton will need to step his game up in New England. He only threw for 169 yards last week and wasn't able to put a touchdown on the board. Newton has yet to face the Patriots in his young career.
As long as the game doesn't get too far out of hand early, the Panthers will look to a combination of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart to handle the running game. Stewart notched 13 carries to Williams' eight in Week 10. Although the distribution in touches between the two is worth noting, Williams did more damage with his opportunities totalling 46 yards rushing in the game and scoring the only touchdown of the contest.
New England Patriots
Quarterback Tom Brady is really starting to get things together in New England again. There is no doubt he used the team's Week 10 bye to rest after throwing for four touchdown passes and 432 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 9. The Golden Boy connected with receiver Aaron Dobson on five passes, including two for touchdowns.
Though Dobson has emerged as an option on the outside for Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski is still the team's number one receiver without question. Gronk caught all but one pass thrown to him against the Steelers and finish with nine catches for 143 yards and a touchdown in the win. As good as the Panthers secondary is, there is no match for the physicality and sure hands that Gronkowski possesses. There's no doubt he'll be targeted a lot in Week 11.