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Pats and Panthers square off in Week 2

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The New England Patriots will travel to Charlotte, N.C., this week to face off against the Carolina Panthers in a Week 2 inter-conference battle. The Patriots and Panthers will play for the first time since their classic encounter in Super Bowl XXXVIII and for just the third time ever in regular-season play. New England will look to build momentum from its season-opening victory over the Oakland Raiders last week, but faces a tall order on the road against one of the NFC's preseason favorites. The Patriots have won five of their last six road games dating back to last season and this week's game is the first of two away matchups against teams with Super Bowl aspirations. After Carolina, New England's next stop is Pittsburgh, where it will face the Steelers in a rematch of last year's AFC title game.

Local / National Broadcast

TELEVISION: This week's game will be televised to a regional audience by CBS and can be seen in Boston on WBZ Channel 4. Dick Enberg will handle play-byplay duties and will be joined by analyst Dan Dierdorf. Armen Keteyian will provide sideline reports throughout the game.

RADIO: WBCN 104.1 FM is the flagship station for the Patriots Rock Radio Network. A complete listing of the network's 34 stations can be found in this press release. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos begins his 28th season as the voice of the Patriots and will call the action along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti. Santos and Cappelletti are celebrating their 21st season as a broadcast tandem.

NATIONAL RADIO: This week's game will be broadcast nationally by Sports USA Radio. Eli Gold will provide the play-by-play and Terry Donahue will offer analysis. Ari Wolfe will report from the sidelines.

Series History

The Patriots and Panthers will meet for just the third time in the regular season and will tangle for the first time since their classic battle in Super Bowl XXXVIII. The two teams produced a game that is widely believed to be among the most entertaining Super Bowls ever played, as the Panthers took a fourth-quarter lead but the Patriots came up with a gamewinning field goal to clinch the see-saw battle in the final seconds. The last time the clubs faced off in the regular season was in the 2001 season finale, when the Patriots scored touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams in a 38-6 victory in Charlotte. The series dates back to 1995, when the Panthers claimed a 20-17 win at Foxboro Stadium in their inaugural season. The two teams have also played five times in the preseason, with the Patriots holding a 3-2 lead in those games. The most recent exhibition matchup came in 2004, when Carolina claimed a 20-17 win at Bank of America Stadium. The two teams also played preseason games each season from 1999-2002.

The Meeting After

The Patriots and Panthers will meet for the first time in the regular season since squaring off in Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston on Feb. 1, 2004. The Patriots have compiled a 2-1 record in their first regular-season game against previous Super Bowl opponents, most recently coming up with a 40-22 victory over the St. Louis Rams (the Patriots' Super Bowl XXXVI foe) last season. The Patriots have at least one player remaining from each of their previous Super Bowl rematches. Doug Flutie started at quarterback in the 1988 rematch of Super Bowl XX against the Chicago Bears, and the Patriots came away with a 30-7 win. Five players remain from the 1997 rematch against Green Bay.

Connections

  • Patriots special teams coach Brad Seely was the Panthers special teams coach for four seasons, from 1995-98.
  • Patriots cornerback Tyrone Poole played for the Panthers for the first three years of that franchise's existence, from 1995-97. Over that span, he started 44 of 47 games played. He started at cornerback for Carolina in the first game in franchise history, at Atlanta on Sept. 5, 1995.
  • New England wide receiver Troy Brown was born in Barnwell, South Carolina and attended Blackville-Hilda High in Blackville, South Carolina where he lettered in football and track.
  • New England tight end Daniel Graham's twin brother Josh Graham played football his freshman year at the University of North Carolina.
  • In the Patriots' win over Carolina on Jan. 6, 2002, New England linebacker Willie McGinest recorded four tackles, including two sacks. McGinest's second sack moved him into fifth place on the Patriots all-time list (51.5 career) and earned him his third multi-sack game of the season.
  • Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson hails from Rock Hill, S.C., and attended Duke University in Durham, N.C., in 1999 before transferring to the University of Georgia.
  • Panthers offensive coordinator Dan Henning was a head coach at Boston College (1994-96).
  • Panthers tight ends coach Dave Magazu was a defensive tackle at Springfield College, before becoming a collegiate coach. Magazu also coached at Boston College for four seasons (1999-2002).
  • Panthers offensive line coach Mike Maser was a coach at Maine from 1979-80 and at Boston College from 1981-93, working with Patriots quarterback Doug Flutie from 1981- 84.
  • Panthers strength and conditioning coach Jerry Simmons held a similar position for the Patriots from 1988-90.
  • Panthers secondary coach Rod Perry tutored the defensive backs for the San Diego Chargers from 1997-2001, where he worked closely with Patriots safety Rodney Harrison, who earned Pro Bowl berths with the Chargers in 1998 and 2001.
  • Panthers linebacker Vinny Ciurciu played at Boston College, where he was a teammate of Dan Koppen in 2001 and 2002. Snapshots of Success

The Patriots are still in the midst of one of the most prosperous periods for any team in NFL history. The recent run of success began with a 29-26 overtime victory against the San Diego Chargers on Oct. 14, 2001, sparking a streak of 57 wins in the Patriots' last 70 games, including postseason. The Patriots entered that contest with a 1-3 record, and Tom Brady was making just the third start of his career against a 3-1 San Diego team. New England rallied back from a 26-16 deficit with less than four minutes left in the game, beginning a stretch of 13 wins in the final 15 games of the 2001 season as the Patriots won their first title in Super Bowl XXXVI. Below are some snapshots highlighting the Patriots' current winning run.

PATRIOTS SUCCESS STREAKS (Including Postseason)

  • 6 consecutive victories dating to Dec. 26, 2004
  • 12 wins in last 13 games, dating to Nov. 7, 2004 (12-1, .923)
  • 33 wins in last 35 games, dating to Oct. 5, 2003 (33-2, .943)
  • 36 wins in last 40 games, dating to Dec. 29, 2002 (36-4, .900)
  • 41 wins in last 48 games, dating to Nov. 3, 2002 (41-7, .854)
  • 53 wins in last 64 games, dating to Nov. 25, 2001 (53-11, .828)
  • 57 wins in last 70 games, dating to Oct. 14, 2001 (57-13, .814) Carolina in My Mind

2
The number of times the Patriots and Panthers have faced off in the regular season since the Carolina franchise was established in 1995.

1
The number of teams the Patriots have played fewer times than Carolina since 1995 (Seattle).

1
The number of times the Patriots have traveled to Carolina for a regular-season game prior to this week (01/06/02).

14
The number of the Patriots' 22 starters from Super Bowl XXXVIII who are expected to play in this week's game.

13
The number of the Panthers' 22 starters from Super Bowl XXXVIII who are expected to play in this week's game.

1
The number of Patriots who have also played for the Panthers (CB Tyrone Poole)

0
The number of Panthers who have also played for the Patriots.

6-2
The Patriots' record in Week Two games since 1997.

Opening Strong

100
The number of total victories owned by Patriots head coach Bill Belichick following last week's season-opening 30-20 win over Oakland.

306
The number of passing yards accumulated by Tom Brady against the Raiders, marking the second consecutive season that he opened the year with a 300-yard game.

0
The number of times Tom Brady was sacked by Oakland.

4
The number of consecutive seasons in which the Patriots have been victorious in their home opener.

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