Patriots-Panthers Week 4 Predictions

They are the network's No. 1 team, as FOX is pulling out all the stops for their lone Patriots game in 2017.

Late in last week's loss to New Orleans, Carolina Panthers cornerback Daryl Worley blasted Saints running back Alvin Kamara just after he crossed the goal line on a 25-yard touchdown run.

Fox Sports, which will broadcast Sunday's Panthers-Patriots game, showed the protests last week amid a widespread response to President Donald Trump's criticisms of National Football League players who kneel during the anthem. Cam Newton has struggled to overcome offseason shoulder surgery that has limited his practice time.

In Charlotte, Carolina veteran Julius Peppers stayed in the locker room before Sunday's loss to New Orleans to protest Trump's remarks. After three games the Patriots defense is last overall, last in points allowed and last in pass defense.

Offensively, the Patriots will have plenty of options.

Already this year the Patriots have given up eight completions of 30 yards or more - after giving up just 16 in all of the 2016 regular season. Last week, he rallied his team to a victory against Houston in the final minute, proving he still has what it takes to beat a good defense in crunch time.

The Panthers may be 2-1 but they got there beating the 49ers and Bills and scored only nine points against Buffalo before being thumped last week by a divisional opponent at home, where Drew Brees riddled their defense for three touchdown passes while Newton twice forced third-down throws that were intercepted and left his defense in bad circumstances.

Look for the Panthers to get the ball in McCaffrey's hands as much as possible, in a variety of different ways on Sunday. Each and every quarterback who has faced the New England defense has thrown for at least 301 yards and two touchdowns. The Demon Deacons (4-0, 1-0) - who have opened with four wins for the second straight year - allow only 11.5 points per game. Rob Gronkowski is still in the mix, and healthy, which will give the Panthers yet another offensive weapon to worry about. One of the leaders of New England's defense, Hightower has been out since spraining his knee in the season opener against the Chiefs.

Nothing would erase all the bad memories from last week like a victory over everyone's most hated team. New England escaped in that Texans game and now remains in a comfortable spot in the standings.

Has averaged 17.3 fantasy points a game through the first three weeks of the season. Wise had a sack in each of his first two games for the Patriots and while he failed to record one against the Texans, his pressure of Houston quarterback DeShaun Watson was the catalyst for Stephon Gilmore's interception.

WR Sterling Shepard (NYG) - Just because he shares the field with OBJ, doesn't mean you can't trust him. After losing his favorite target in Greg Olsen to the IR, it will be tougher for Cam to make some serious damage. The Panthers need more out of Newton to make this a competitive game. As great as Tom Brady is, he tends to look a little human when he is constantly under pressure. Tough lesson learned for us last year but it's still early this year.

"Well, I mean it's pretty evident we learned a lesson a year ago", Titans coach Mike Mularkey said. If there is any game for the defense to turn it around, it will be this week.

  • Julie Sanders