5 Things to Watch for the New York Giants in Week 3
5 Things to Watch as the New York Giants Visit the Carolina Panthers
Against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1, the Giants clawed their way back into the game just to lose it in heart-wrenching fashion. Six turnovers proved too much to overcome and ended up sinking Eli Manning and the Giants.
The Giants played one half of tough-nosed football against the Denver Broncos in Week 2. At the half, New York was down just 10-9 but had squandered a few opportunities to take the lead. Once again, it was turnovers that plagued the Giants in the second half and led to their defeat at the hands of the Broncos, 41-23.
Rust is no longer a plausible excuse for the G-Men. They need to play a smarter and more controlled game of football. The offense must understand the importance of each possession and do a much better job of taking care of the ball.
On defense, New York needs to find a way to return to their old brand of football. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell must open up the blitz if the defensive line can’t get to the quarterback on their own. An effective pass rush is the key for this Giants defense.
Here are the top five things to keep an eye on on Sunday, as the Giants attempt to put an end to their losing streak.
The New York Giants linebacker unit has been one of their weak spots this season. Starting middle linebacker Dan Connor is out for the year, leaving the G-Men with a young and inexperienced group of linebackers. Cam Newton’s ability to run the football could prove to be a big problem for the Giants' defense. They may need to use a spy for Newton in order to contain his big-play ability. Jacquian Williams will also have to have a good game against tight end Greg Olsen, who is Carolina’s leading receiver.
The Giants' wide receiving corps should have an absolute field day on Sunday. Both of Carolina’s starting safeties and one of their starting cornerbacks will be out. Manning and the New York offense should come out firing early and often, attempting to exploit these injuries with the likes of Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle.
The G-Men have just two total sacks this season. The pass rush has been non-existent and will continue to struggle until Jason Pierre-Paul gets fully healthy. Look for New York to give rookie defensive end Damontre Moore a greater role in passing situations. The Panthers' offensive line surrendered six sacks to the Bills last week, so this very well could be the game where the Giants break out of their funk. With Corey Webster out for the game, the defensive line needs to help out the secondary and put Newton under consistent pressure.
The Giants' running game has only hurt their offense to this point. New York is currently ranked No. 32 in rushing yards per game and hasn’t had a running back rush for 25 yards or more in a game this season. David Wilson was supposed to be the feature back when Andre Brown went down in the preseason but Wilson’s two fumbles in the opener clearly has the Giants' coaching staff nervous. They need to restore confidence in Wilson and let him loose against Carolina or else this unit will continue to struggle.
Through two weeks, the Giants have turned the ball over a whopping 10 times. Manning has thrown seven interceptions, compared to just five touchdowns. There’s no way the Giants can turn their season around without cutting down on the turnovers. Manning has to value each possession and make smarter decisions. If the Giants can substantially cut down on their turnovers, they can eventually turn themselves into a team to beat in the NFC.