Talib travels to Charlotte, should play Monday night

Good news for the New England Patriots ahead of their key primetime match up against the Carolina Panthers.

With Alfonzo Dennard and Steve Gregory ruled out of Monday's game, the secondary needs help, and the news that Aqib Talib is in Charlotte with the team is a massive boost.

How Bill Belichick will choose to use him is a different matter: Usually, Talib will take out the key offensive weapon on the opposition - Jimmy Graham, AJ Green and Julio Jones being three examples from this year. One might expect him to lock down on WR Steve Smith, but Panthers QB Cam Newton loves to spread the ball around.

Smith has had a relatively down year, with 42 catches for 450 yards and 3 TDs. Two other Panther receivers have very similar numbers to Smith: TE Greg Olsen has 440 yards and 3 TDs, and WR Brandon LaFell has 400 yards and 3 TDs on the season. Even Ted Ginn has 386 yards and 2 TDs. So Newton isn't afraid to go anywhere. Stats from ESPN.

I still think Talib will follow Smith over the field: Smith has been targeted a lot more than any of the other 3 targets, he's a lot more physical than the others - Talib can definitely handle that better than other corners on the team. Finally, I want to see this because Steve Smith loves to jaw off and try to aggravate opposition players. Talib is more than capable of giving as good as he gets, and just seeing those two battle for supremacy will be really fun to watch, especially as it should be a battle Talib wins.

I'm on Twitter, let me know your thoughts @BrendanAnnely.