The Patriots suffered a crushing loss last night, as they fell to the Carolina Panthers by a score of 24-20. A big story-line behind this loss was the incredible amount of injuries New England’s defense had to deal with, including being without starting cornerback Alfonzo Dennard. Last week Dennard was added to the injury report, being listed with a knee injury, and obviously that was the reason behind his absence on Monday Night. The news doesn’t get much better for Dennard and the Pats, as Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald has reported that Dennard is expected to miss this week’s tilt with the Denver Broncos.
New England could have gotten away with Dennard being off of the field against a weak Carolina passing attack, but going up against Peyton Manning is a different story. He leads the NFL’s top offense, which includes three extremely talented wide-outs (Welker may miss the game with a concussion, but we don’t know yet). The Pats will really miss Dennard’s presence on the field this Sunday Night, especially with all the other injuries they are currently dealing with in the secondary. Aqib Talib has been dealing with a hip issue, Kyle Arrington’s groin has been nagging him all season, and starting safety Steve Gregory suffered a broken thumb three weeks ago versus Pittsburgh. I didn’t like the chances of this banged up secondary holding serve against Manning before this news broke, and now I am even more skeptical. Hopefully Belichick and company come up with a solid plan to counter Peyton’s high flying attack, or else this game will end up being a classic Peyton versus Brady shoot-out (although I wouldn’t mind watching that).