Patriots @ Panthers, 5:25 p.m., ESPN The line: Panthers by 3
New England (7-2): Carolina defense is stout, but Bill Belichick’s 9-3 post-bye record for New England prevails. TE Rob Gronkowski missed the first six games of the season recovering from back and arm surgeries but has caught 19 passes in three games. He returned with nine receptions vs. the New York Jets on Oct. 20.
Carolina (6-3): Keeping coach Ron Rivera was Panthers’ best decision in years. The Panthers and Patriots have combined to win seven straight games.
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