Giants vs. Panthers Preview & Prediction
A few days ago I said that after their most recent games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I would have a hard time betting against Eli Manning. Well, that has lasted about 3 days because heading into tonight, all my money is on Cam Newton and the Panthers taking care of business against the New York Giants. In a Thursday Night matchup that features two teams coming off big victories to avoid 0-2, I believe it is Carolina which showed more this past Sunday and look prime to show the national audience that they are ready to be taken seriously.
The fact that the game in in Carolina will play a huge factor, much more so because of the odd schedule. The Giants will have to play their first road game of the year only three days after their last game. Football players are creatures of habit. Since the Giants began play this year on a Wednesday, then had a long wait until their next game and now have such a short period before they play again, it is extremely tough to figure that they have been able to find any consistency in their preparation. Sure the Panthers are playing with on a short week also, but they don’t have to travel. They hosted New Orleans this past Sunday, and after a convincing divisional win, they have been able to rest home and welcome the G-Men to their building.
Injuries will also play a huge role in tonight’s game. Pro-bowl tackle David Diehl has been a rock for the Giants offensive line for the past decade, but he will be out of the lineup tonight. Wide Receivers Hakeem Nicks, who is coming off a 200 yard game and Domenik Hixon will both be sidelined as well. Even though Eli is capable of greatness each and every week, I would imagine the Panthers might double, triple, maybe even quadruple team Victor Cruz tonight. Ahmad Bradshaw will also be sidelined, meaning the Giants will enter Carolina with more than half of their starting offensive weapons missing in action.
It is no secret that the Panthers are going to attack the Giants with some Cam Newton, followed by more Cam Newton which will lead to an extra dosage of Cam Newton. After a disappointing Week 1 performance against the Buccaneers, Newton played up to expectations against New Orleans, posting 253 yards in the air, 71 on the ground and 2 total touchdowns. Josh Freeman was able to expose the Giants pass defense and I don’t expect to see any difference tonight. Steve Smith and Brandon Lafell will attack the Giants deep and I expect to see a lot of Greg Olsen and D’Angelo Williams out of the flat for short gains. The Giants biggest strength on defense is their defensive line, but their lack of pressure in the first two games, paired up with Cam Newton’s mobility, leads me to believe that the Panthers will have their way with the Giants defense.
The Panthers defense has been shaky at times, especially against the run. However, even though normally the Giants would take great advantage of that matchup, missing Bradshaw, Diehl and the threat of Nicks will certainly hamper them. I expect Eli to find the end zone a few times, and probably will watch Cruz do a little salsa dancing, but I believe when the smoke clears later tonight, the Panthers will win this one 28-17. Enjoy the game, LETS GO CAM!