Almost exactly a month after he was traded to the Carolina Panthers, Stephon Gilmore will get to meet his former team: the New England Patriots will come to town in Week 9, giving Gilmore a chance to show his old club that he is still among the best cornerbacks in football — and a player every team would like to have on its roster.
A first-round draft pick by the Buffalo Bills in 2012, Gilmore joined the Patriots when his rookie contract was up five years later. Signing a five-year, $65 million contract his outlook was obvious: Gilmore was to be New England’s number one cornerback. He certainly lived up to the expectations.
Between 2017 and 2020, Gilmore was arguably the best cornerback in football. An impressive man-to-man cornerback capable of shutting down even the best wide receivers in the game, he was voted to four straight Pro Bowls, two first All-Pro teams, and the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2019. Most importantly, he helped the Patriots win a Super Bowl that saw him make a pivotal interception in the fourth quarter.
Coming off a season-ending quad injury and with his contract situation uncertain, however, New England decided to send him to the Panthers in early October. Now, the two sides will meet again and the question is this: Will Gilmore get his revenge?
Let’s use our crystal ball as well as the numbers provided by DraftKings Sportsbook to find out.
While the Patriots and Panthers are both 4-4 entering this week’s meeting, the oddsmakers think that the visitors will come away victoriously: New England is listed as a 3.5-point road favorite, and it is not hard to see why.
The Patriots are coming off back-to-back wins over the New York Jets and Los Angeles Chargers and appear to be over their early-season struggles. While they were just a few plays away from coming away victorious in three of their four losses up until this point — Miami, Tampa Bay, Dallas — they were able to come through in the clutch recently.
Carolina, on the other hand, lost four straight before its 19-13 win over the Atlanta Falcons last week. While fielding one of the best defenses in football, the team’s offense has been a major issue and is not likely to improve before Sunday: starting quarterback Sam Darnold remains in concussion protocol and was “extremely limited” during Wednesday’s practice; running back Christian McCaffrey was just designated to return from injured reserve and is no guarantee to play against the Patriots.
The circumstances therefore favor the Patriots, even with the team’s new CB1, J.C. Jackson, missing Wednesday’s practice due to an illness. Seeing them leave Charlotte victoriously and with more than a field goal between the two clubs would also not be a surprise — especially if New England continues to limit its mistakes on the offensive side of the ball.
Gilmore getting his revenge this week can very much happen, but the Patriots are the favorites for a reason.