BOSTON (CBS) – With Scott Zolak down in Carolina to call tonight’s game, Mike Flynn joined Andy Gresh in studio to preview the big Monday Night Football showdown between the Patriots and Panthers.
Winners of five straight, Carolina may be the hottest team in the NFL at 6-3 and second place in the NFC South. Now that Tom Brady has his weapons healthy, can the Panthers smothering, top ranked defense match up with the Patriots offense?
There’s a lot of questions heading into tonight’s game especially with the long layoff coming out of the bye week, so let’s get started.
Andy Gresh doesn’t know if Luke Kuechly and company will be able to sack Brady or not, but he’s certain that the Carolina defense will pressure Tom Brady – especially up the middle.
Gresh believes the Patriots have a weak link in their offensive line, and that weak link is center Ryan Wendell.
“He [Wendell] is a scrapper, he battles out there. But he is not the ideal size center in my mind,” said Gresh. “Carolina is going to be able to win the battle over the nose, and Ryan Wendell is the guy that you can attack in this Patriots offense.”
Right tackle Sebastian Vollmer is out for the season, so this limits the ability of the Patriots and line coach Dante Scarnecchia to be flexible and move guys around. If Wendell struggles early on it could be a long day for Tom Brady.
Mike Flynn is no stranger to the offensive line and playing in the trenches. He played 11 seasons in the NFL at center and even won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens. Flynn has seen some great defensive lines in his day, and to him, this Carolina front is as legit as they come.
“Similar to those Tennessee Titans lines of the late 90’s when they went to the Super Bowl and into the early 2000’s, they rotate in the [defensive] interior. They rotate four guys inside, they are fresh every play and they are all legit. That’s hard to find,” said Flynn.
“It’s hard to find defensive lineman that can bring it and there’s no drop-off in performance when you rotate.”
For their full analysis of tonight’s game, listen below: