Thursday, November 14, 2013

Flags, turnovers key when Panthers host Patriots


The New England Patriots' Monday night matchup with the Carolina Panthers features two of the NFL's most disciplined teams.

The Patriots are the league's fifth-least penalized squad, averaging just 4.56 flags a game. The Panthers are right behind, getting flagged on the sixth-fewest occasions with 4.98 penalties a game.

Both teams are also ranked near the top in turnover differential, with New England third at plus-nine and Carolina fourth at plus-eight.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick opened his Wednesday press conference noting Carolina's acumen in those categories.

"Well-coached, not very many penalties, doing a good job protecting the ball, turning it over," he said, via "Making a lot of key plays at the right time in all three phases of the game – they are a very opportunistic and instinctive team."

Carolina's defense has snagged 13 interceptions, tied for the the most in the league, while the Patriots are tied for fifth in picks with 12.

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