The New York Giants are 0-2 this season and looking like a sick football team. However, the NFL schedule makers have given the Giants the perfect remedy in the form of the Carolina Panthers. The Giants’ offense has not exactly lived up to expectations so far this season. Eli Manning has thrown seven interceptions in two games. David Wilson and the running game have been atrocious, gaining only 73 yards in two games. However, the Giants should be looking forward to this matchup as they try to turn things around.
The Giants rank first in the NFL in passing yards, averaging 390.5 yards per game. The Panthers rank 22nd in the NFL in passing yards allowed, giving up 293.5 yards per game through the air and three of their four cornerbacks are banged up at the moment. Last season, these two teams matched up in the third week of the season and the Giants beat the Panthers resoundingly, 36-7, and were without Hakeem Nicks and Ahmad Bradshaw. In their place, Andre Brown and Ramses Barden had outstanding games.
Now, the Giants are entering this matchup with Nicks, Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle all healthy. If the running game struggles Manning should be able to find Nicks, Cruz and Randle with few problems against this banged up Panthers secondary.
The Giants’ biggest weakness this season has been their running game. David Wilson just has not gotten anything going and the Giants have been forced to abandon the running game early to keep up with opponents who have taken advantage of turnovers. Still, the Giants are averaging just 36.5 yards per game on the ground so far, good enough for last in the NFL. However, this week they will be going up against a Panthers defense that ranks 21st in rushing yards allowed, giving up 109.5 yards per game on the ground.
Even though it is only Week 3 in the NFL the Giants find themselves in the unfamiliar position of facing a must win game before the calendar turns to October. If the Giants start the season 0-3 they can all but forget about the playoffs, even in a weak NFC East. However, even with coach Tom Coughlin dealing with the unexpected death of his brother, which will take away from his ability to prepare for this upcoming game, the Giants should be able to dominate this game from the start.
The key, as in every football game, will be eliminating turnovers which have killed the Giants so far this season. Against this Panthers defense the Giants should be able to do just that. More importantly, the Giants defense should be able to keep the Panthers from moving the football consistently.
The Panthers offense ranks 30th in the NFL in passing yards with just 151 yards per game which just isn’t good enough in today’s NFL. Their running game, which is by far their strength, has averaged 129.5 yards per game, good enough for sixth in the NFL. However, the Giants defense has been much improved in this area after allowing 129.1 yards per game on the ground last season the Giants defense has held opponents to 97 yards per game so far this season.
Expect the Giants to play a much crisper football game on Sunday and get their first win of the season. There are just too many problems with the Panthers and while they are favored at home it shouldn’t even be close by the time the final whistle blows.