The Patriots will look to make it three straight wins when they face ex-teammate Stephon Gilmore and the Carolina Panthers.

New England Patriots running back Damien Harris against the Los Angeles Chargers. (AP Photo/John McCoy)

Only one team can leave Bank of America Stadium in Carolina with five wins, and the Patriots look like a good bet to make that happen against the Carolina Panthers.

New England comes to town with two straight wins, including a possible season-changing win over the Chargers. Meanwhile, the Panthers’ 2021 campaign had been in free fall until a win over the division-rival Falcons stopped the bleeding.

But Carolina’s talented defensive front, a potentially vengeful Stephon Gilmore—now a member of the Panthers after four seasons in New England—and the return of running back Christian McCaffrey could make this one interesting.


Follow all the action on’s live game day blog.


11:41 a.m.: N’Keal Harry (knee) is officially out for the Patriots today due to a knee injury as he headlines the team’s inactives against the Panthers. The good news: J.C. Jackson (illness) is in after returning to practice Friday.

On the Panthers’ side, both running back Christian McCaffrey and quarterback Sam Darnold are active and looking to play.

10:54 a.m.: Both teams got some welcome injury-related news toward the end of the week, though it remains to be seen how that will play out Sunday afternoon.

The Panthers cleared Sam Darnold from concussion protocol, a likely sign he’ll start at quarterback against New England, and activated star running back Christian McCaffrey off of injured reserve.

The latter would be an especially huge boost for Carolina. McCaffrey is arguably the best player on the team and would be the toughest running back the Patriots have faced since the Saints’ Alvin Kamara in Week 3. But the Panthers’ back will need to go through a pregame workout to assess his readiness to play.

On the other side, the Patriots got J.C. Jackson back at practice on Friday after he missed a few days due to non-Covid illness. That should bode well for his chances to play against the dynamic receiver duo of D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson.