Week 11 of the NFL season concludes on Monday Night football with the meeting of the in-form Carolina Panthers and the Tom Brady led New England Patriots

Recommendation

New England Patriots +3 10/11 Coral

It doesn’t happen very often, but the New England Patriots are 8-1 Against the Spread in the last nine times they’ve been marked as underdogs on the road. They are three point underdogs tonight in Charlotte against a Carolina side that has won five consecutive games to move into play-off contention in the NFC South including a signature win last week in San Francisco in a defensive battle

The path to Carolina’s turn-round has been two-fold. Quarterback Cam Newton, the number one NFL draft pick in 2011, is much more consistent, has eliminated turnovers and produced throughout 2013 as more of a “game manager” than a “do it all” budding superstar. Secondly the talent infusion on the defense, notably with number one draft picks Star Lotulelei and Luke Kuechly has produced a fine unit, ranked top three in the NFL.

New England is a much changed outfit from the machine that consistently goes deep into the play-offs in the last few years. Firstly they are injury hit, as many teams are this stage of the season but New England especially so including defensive leaders  nose tackle Vince Wilfork (Achilles) and linebacker Jerod Mayo (torn pectoral muscle)

Tom Brady’s receiving core  includes Aaron Dobson, Kembrell Thompkins and Julian Edelman, has been missing Wes Welker and has only just got Rob Gronkowski back but despite everything including Tom Brady is sporting the worst passer rating (82.7) of his career , the Patriots remain  on top of the AFC East two games clear of the chasing pack.

One key factor that is coming to help New England is the running game where Steven Ridley is back on form, with the possible return of Shane Vereen (who the Patriots are expected to remove from the Injured reserve list) along with Ridley, who’ll be looking to add to his six touchdowns in his last four games, this could prove to be a real test of Carolina’s resilience against the run. 

Belichick is a superb coach, and the New England team is coming off a bye. Look for them to be well prepared and the clear value in what is likely to be a very close game

Recommendation

New England Patriots +3 10/11 Coral