BOSTON (CBS) – The Patriots were off on Sunday, but there was still plenty of football to break down with CBS Sports and WFAN’s Boomer Esiason.

Esiason made his weekly call into 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Monday morning, previewing next week’s Patriots-Panthers Monday Night Football matchup and weighing in on the landscape of the AFC.

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After a 1-3 start it looked like the Panthers were heading towards another disappointing season. But they have now rattled off five straight wins, including an impressive 10-9 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

The Panthers defense held the 49ers to just 151 yards of total offense, with Colin Kaepernick throwing for just 46 yards and getting sacked six times. This is just the latest example in an impressive string put together by a talented Carolina defense.

“It really has become an excellent defense. Yesterday they held a smackdown on San Francisco,” said Esiason. “To go on the road like Carolina did is actually very impressive. San Francisco had won five in a row and looked like they were unstoppable. For this defense to do what they did yesterday is pretty impressive.

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“Now in comes what I would consider one of the more balanced offensives, a quarterback that adept to reading defenses and has his full complement of players around him. The Patriots looked great last week, so this should be one of the best Monday night games of the year,” said Boomer.

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“This is going to be a wild game and a tremendous challenge for Tom Brady to go against this defense, which not only plays well in the secondary but can get after the quarterback with the four down linemen,” he said.  “When you play against a Hall Of Fame quarterback like Tom Brady, is the most important thing.”

Boomer also takes a look at the AFC playoff picture, and gives his take on the Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin situation with the Miami Dolphins. Listen below:

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