Carolina Panthers Week 3 Positional Matchups
Positional Breakdown Between the Carolina Panthers and New York Giants
The Carolina Panthers have had a very rough start to the 2013 NFL season with a 0-2 record. The biggest issue with the Panthers in their first two games is that they were leading the game up until late in the fourth quarter where they eventually blew it and lost. This is an ongoing issue the Panthers have struggled with dating back to the start of last season. Seven of the Panthers nine losses last year were by less than a touchdown. This disappointing pattern continues on early in this season. In week three, the Panthers will be trying to earn their first win of the season. Luckily, they will be in their home stadium, but will be playing a tough opponent who has a good track record against the Panthers in the past.
The Panthers will face NFC opponent, the New York Giants. The Giants have also had a very slow start the season with the same record as the Panthers at 0-2. The Giants showed great skill on both offense and defense and have shown they still have some of the same talent that took them to the Super Bowl in 2011. In week three, the Giants will travel to Charlotte and try to beat the Panthers senseless like they did last year 36-7.
Both teams have lost good players, but also gained great players. This will be a fun matchup to watch. Breaking down the positional matchups is the best way to figure out who is the favorite and expected to win.
In the quarterback position, I give the advantage to the Giants for one reason: The Panthers secondary have been plagued by injury and have little depth to rely on. Eli Manning is third in the league in passing yards. However, he is also leading the league in interceptions thrown. Cam Newton has great potential to be one of the best in the league, but he has gotten off to a slow start in 2013. He has only thrown one interception, but is close to last in the league in passing yards. In his first two games, he was hesitant to run the ball, making him less dynamic as a playmaker. The only major difference between these two quarterbacks is the defensive secondary they will be facing. The Giants have a better, more experience defense.
In the running back position, the advantage goes to the Panthers and DeAngelo Williams. Despite his two fumbles in week one, he still had a solid game and outperformed all other running backs on the field in week two. The reason Williams gets the advantage is because he is more consistent than the Giants rushers and the Panthers have trust in his abilities. In week one, the Giants benched their starting running back David Wilson after fumbling the ball twice early in the game. Neither running backs have found the end zone yet, but Williams almost doubles Wilson’s average yards per carry. Both teams have a solid front seven on defense. However, the Giants have established themselves more as a passing team, and the Panthers are more equal in passing and rushing. Expect Williams to see the ball more often and produce more yards on the ground.
In the wide receiver position, it is almost unfair. The Giants take a clear advantage. The Panthers have had a long-time struggle to find a reliable No. 2 receiver to help balance with their star player Steve Smith. The Panthers may have found their guy in Ted Ginn, but it is way too early in the season to tell. However, the Giants have it all figured out. Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz are two of the best receivers in the NFL. They are extremely talented targets with fantastic hands and incredible speed. They can take short plays and extend them with their legs after the catch or beat any defense down the field with a long ball. These two receivers are already established as amazing and expect them to run around the Panthers young and banged up secondary.
The tight end position is one the Panthers can happily take an advantage over the Giants. The Panthers' Greg Olsen is a fantastic veteran who is definitely one of the best in the league. He is a big target who has great hands and makes plays in clutch moments. Newton loves to target Olsen in tight situations or in the red zone. So far, Olsen is the No. 1 receiver on the Panthers' offense. The Giants, on the other hand, have such great receivers they don’t utilize the tight ends as often. Brandon Myers is third on the Giants' offense in receiving yards. Expect Olsen to get more looks on offense and find his way into the end zone if the Panthers are in the red zone.
The defenses for both teams are very solid. However, the Giants defense has a much better reputation than the Panthers. The Giants' defensive linemen are much more productive and get to the quarterback on many occasions. The Panthers' linebackers are more productive and a lot more fearful. The Giants No. 1 linebacker last season is now a backup for the Panthers. The biggest issue with the Panthers is the injuries to their secondary. This is why the advantage goes to the Giants. The Panthers have lost two safeties and two cornerbacks to injuries since the start of the preseason. They are very inexperienced and banged up. They are no match for the Giants' pass-first offense. Expect the Giants to exploit this weakness and find the end zone through the air.