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If you're wondering what to do with yourself while the Patriots are on a bye week, look no further than the San Francisco 49ers/Carolina Panthers game. The Patriots are playing the Carolina Panthers in week 11, so it should give us a good chance to scout out the competition. Here are my 3 things to watch with the Panthers.



 How they fare against a good team: The Panthers are a tough team, no doubt, but the only real quality team they've played are the Seattle Seahawks, who beat them 12-7. Other than that, they've played the Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Atlanta Falcons. Hardly the cream of the crop this year. San Francisco, then playing the Patriots next year, are different animals all together and both contenders in their respective leagues.



 Cam Newton vs the San Francisco Defense: This goes along with the first one - Cam Newton has only faced one elite defense in Seattle and he definitely came off the worse for wear. He only managed 7 points in that game and he's up against it again this week. He's going to have his hands full with a San Francisco defense that is getting healthy at the right time. So it should be interesting to see how he handles facing a dangerous San Fran defense. Again, they had a lot of problems against Seattle, and San Francisco's defense is right up there.



Carolina Defense vs a good Quarterback: Let's face it - the Carolina defense has hardly come across the cream of the crop as far as quarterbacks go. They handled Russell Wilson pretty well, limiting him to 12 points despite losing that game. After that, the best QB's they've faced is Eli Manning and Matt Ryan, but they've hardly been on top of their game this year. They're both 2-6 in their first 8 games. Neither look like winning a Super Bowl this year. And they'll be facing Colin Kapernick, who can hurt you with his arm or his legs, and Tom Brady, who is one of the all time greats and is finding his best form this year.



 I think the Patriots should be able to handle Carolina, but they are not to be underestimated. They're a solid team on both sides of the ball this year, and have established themselves pretty well in the NFC South. They could be a playoff team this year and they bear watching.





Twitter - @ConorJF1016

Conor Frederick 11/07/2013 12:08:00 PM Edit
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