After a 27-24 victory last week out against the Los Angeles Chargers, the New England Patriots look to continue their winning ways this Sunday down in Carolina. The Panthers and Patriots both enter this matchup with 4-4 records, after the Panthers had a victory over the Atlanta Falcons last Sunday.

ABC6 Sports Director Nick Coit says this is the time of the season when some teams jump ahead and others start to fall behind, and the Patriots look like contenders.

The Patriots have been improving as the season has gone on, as all the new faces on the team have started coming together. Edge rusher Matt Judon, who was acquired during free agency, has shined with eight sacks on the season thus far. Coit says the rookies on this team have also shown promise.

Quarterback Mac Jones continues to show maturity for his age, although he did have some struggles last week. Even with those struggles, Jones showed poise in crunch time versus the Chargers. The Patriots’ second-round draft pick, defensive tackle Christian Barmore, also continues to get better each week.

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The Panthers head into Sunday’s game with injury questions on their offense. Quarterback Sam Darnold left last Sunday’s game with a concussion and a shoulder injury that could continue to sideline him this week. Should that happen, PJ Walker would be the Panthers’ starting quarterback. Running back Christian McCaffrey has been on injured reserve since mid-October, but could make his return this Sunday. He has yet to be activated to the roster, so his status remains unclear.

With the progress that the Patriots have been making on both sides of the ball, Coit is picking the Patriots to win this Sunday.

Additional Reporting by Sierra Fiore

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