Giants (1-3) vs Panthers (2-1)
Last week the Panthers were on an early
season bye after playing in just three games. The week earlier they had hosted
the Cincinnati Bengals, and won that game 31-21.
The Giants started out strong
last week playing at home against the New Orleans Saints. They weren't able to
sustain an early lead and took a 33-18 loss.
The Panthers finished
up last season with 11 wins and 5 losses, and even that wasn't enough to take
the NFC South division title. They were edged out by the New Orleans Saints who
had the same record, but a better division win-loss record. Both those teams lost
their final game of the season. A Panthers win over the Atlanta Falcons would
have given them the title. The Panthers played their wildcard game on the road
in New Orleans and came up short, in a 31-26 loss to the Saints.
the Panthers are probably not happy that they drew such an early bye week, and
that their one loss to date was a division game. It was to the Atlanta Falcons
who are 1-3, having won only that one game with them. Since 2012 the Panthers
have been an up and down team, winning 7-12-7-15-6, and 11 games in those years.
They'd like to break that trend, and are looking to build on their record this
week at home against a Giants team that looks on the surface to be an easy matchup
can't help but notice that the Panthers are the number one team in the NFL with
their running game, and that quarterback Cam Newton is their second leading rusher.
Newton has 3 rushing touchdowns and has no problem using his arm as well. He's
thrown 5 touchdowns to five different receivers. The Panthers top runner, and
second leading receiver, Christian McCaffrey, has no touchdowns, but he sure gets
the offensive unit downfield. In the last game he played, he caught 2 passes for
10 yards, and ran the ball 28 times for 184 rushing yards.
That's not a misprint,
and maybe McCaffrey did enjoy having this bye week to rest up. Wide receiver Devin
Funchess is second to McCaffrey in catches, just as he was last season, but in
his role as a receiver he had more yards, and now also leads in that area. The
Panthers deep threat is veteran Torrey Smith, a free agent they signed for that
role in the offseason. Smith played last season with the Eagles, so the Giants
have seen him twice.
Defensive tackle Kawann Short is
off to a strong start this season in the three games, with two sacks, and defensive
end Mario Addison has 2.5. The team has eight overall. Short, who was one of the
players drafted by general manager Dave Gettleman when he was with the team, is
thought of for his run stopping abilities, but he has other skills to go with
that, and in 2015 he notched 11 sacks. Short will be up against Gettleman's second-round
pick for the Giants, Will Hernandez, who has been playing well alongside left
tackle Nate Solder to protect Eli Manning's blind side.
The Giants had said
after last week that maybe they should have established more of a running game
with Saquon Barkley who had a season-low total
of 10 carries. The Panthers secondary has shown improvement over last year, and
in their last two games they contained Julio Jones and A.J. Green, keeping each
one to less than 65 yards and out of the endzone. Cornerback James Bradberry will
be tracking Odell Beckham Jr., who is looking for his first touchdown of the year.
weeks ago, the Giants came away with their first win of the season. It was in
Houston against the Texans, and Eli Manning and his offense delivered on what
people were expecting, or at least hoping for, going into the season. They had
a balanced offense that ran the ball 27 times, and passed it 29 times. Saquon
Barkley ran for 82 yards on 17 carries for 4.8 yards per carry, and had one a
rushing touchdown. Odell Beckham Jr. caught 9 out of 10 passes for 109 yards,
and he logged his second 100-yard receiving performance of the season.
week they got off to a real fast start, and then it abruptly ended. They had used
Barkley in the first two series, and each time he had four and five yard runs.
On the next series Wayne Gallman came in, and on consecutive plays Gallman ran
for four yards, caught a seven yard pass, ran for 2 yards, caught an 11 yard pass,
then caught a 4 yard pass which he fumbled away (from exhaustion?). Who's calling
these plays? There was no balance in that game, with 41 passing plays and just
15 rushes. Lets see what happens this week.
So how is this defense doing? They
are midrange in points, giving up just shy of 24 points a game. They're eighth
in passing yardage, allowing 229 per game, but the killer is that they're 29th
in rushing yards, giving up 126 per game. Last week the Saints totaled 170, and
running back Alvin Kamara alone hit them for 134 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
Kamara was actually responsible for all the touchdowns the Saints scored, and
they can't allow the Panthers Christian McCaffrey, another dual threat running
back, to run on them like that this week.
It's not good news that the Panthers
lead the NFL in rushing, averaging 166 yards per game. The Giants just activated
run-stopper Josh Mauro to help with that. Mauro was on a four-game suspension,
but can hit the ground running (pun?) as he played for defensive coordinator James
Bettcher in Arizona in the 3-4 system the Giants now employ. The Panthers don't
pass for big yardage, with Cam Newton taking off on a number of plays. It would
have been great to have Olivier Vernon back, but once again he is out for this
game. Cornerback Eli Apple will be back, so that's a big plus.
Giants need to get on track fast, and it won't be easy going up against the Panthers.
If they can have some successful breakthrough on offense it will be a help, in
that they will quickly have to be ready to face the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday
night. The Panthers have had plenty of time to review how other teams have handled
the Giants in the three losses, and even the Giants win was slipping away from
them near the end. For this game, Giants fans will have to hope that the Panthers
are more rusty than rested coming off their bye week.
Sunday at 1:00pm Giants at (1-3)
at Panthers (2-1).
Sunday at 4:25pm Vikings (1-2-1) at Eagles (2-2).
at 8:20pm Cowboys (2-2) at Texans (1-3).
Monday at 8:15pm Redskins (2-1) at
The Eagles are the only NFC East team favored to win in these
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is the first Giant to have at least 100 yards from scrimmage in his first 3 games.
is averaging 4.7 yards per carry, and has
353 yards from scrimmage.
Newton has 57 rushing touchdowns, the most all-time for a quarterback.
have won the last seven games in a row at their stadium.
Oct 11 Eagles at Giants.
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