Week three of the preseason is when things finally get serious in the NFL. It’s when the starters play the most, and it’s when coaches finally get a look at who they more than likely will be running out on opening day the first week of the season.
One game that will be highly watched this Friday is the matchup between the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers, another solid NFC team that made it to the divisional round of the playoffs in 2014.
The Patriots will enter week three with a mark of 1-1 in the preseason, this after a 22-11 loss in the preseason opener to the Green Bay Packers, and then a win in week two over the Saints at home 26-24.
Carolina is 2-0 thus far in the preseason, as they defeated the Bills 25-24 in week one of the preseason and beat the Miami Dolphins 31-30 last week. They have been impressive in the preseason, and come into the game as slight favorites (-1) to win the contest over the Pats.
It’s been a tough preseason for the Cats in terms of injuries, as they have lost star wide out Kelvin Benjamin and DE Frank Alexander for the rest of the year with ACL tears. A number of other starters for Carolina are dealing with injuries and bumps and bruises, and coach Ron Rivera will sit a number of them instead of exposing them to more injury problems.
When you look at the Pats, it all starts with Tom Brady, but the QB already knows he’s almost a sure bet to have to serve a suspension for his role in the now famous ‘DeflateGate’ this past offseason, so look for new starter Jimmy Garoppolo to get plenty of looks as he takes on a tough Panthers defense that will test him early and often.
There’s plenty of intangibles to look at in a preseason game, which is why they are always so tough to figure out and predict exactly which way they will go. There’s a variety of sites that have sports betting tips for the preseason, ones that will spell out who will win and why.
As for this game, with as many injuries as the Panthers have, it’s a safe bet to think that New England will leave Bank of America Stadium with their second win of the postseason, but don’t fret, the best for both of these teams is yet to come.