By Michael Stewart @golferbad
Introduction: The New York Giants travel to Carolina and face the Panthers in a crucial NFC matchup. The Giants are 1-3 after their uneventful performance against the New Orleans Saints (33-18) and now must face a well balanced Carolina team, currently at 2-1 and coming off a bye week.
Top 3 Matchups:
- QB Cam Newton-vs-Giants Defense: It’s really no secret that if Cam Newton plays well, the Panthers have a very good chance of winning the game. Throw in the play of 2nd year running back Christian McCaffrey, and the Giants will have a tough task defensively. The Panthers have designed running plays for Newton and if feeling any pressure, Newton will run instead of passing. This will create problems for the front 7 of the Giants; which will also make the Giants secondary valuable to big plays.
- Giants offense line-vs-Panthers defensive front 7: I know this will sound like a broken record, but the Giants must find a way to protect Manning long enough for him to make plays downfield and also open up some running lanes for Saquon Barkley. If the OL can do that, the Giants will be very productive and will give the Panthers problems. If not, the Giants will not only struggle scoring points, but sustaining any type of drives will also be an issue.
- Turnovers: Giants need to create turnovers to give themselves a fighting chance. Winning the giveaway/takeaway battle will keep the Giants in the game and a chance to pull an upset. Forcing Cam Newton to throw the ball earlier than expected could result in an interception. Also, looking to strip the ball on running plays could change the momentum in the Giants favor. This could be the deciding factor if the Giants expect to win this game.
Summary: The Panthers are a huge favorite currently at 7.5 points and that could increase just before game time. The Panthers offense relies on Cam Newton’s talents immensely; so limiting his production is the key. Also, the sudden production by Christian McCaffrey in the running game should be caused for concern as the Giants have struggled against the run defensively allowing 126 yards per game. The Giants need to do a better job against the run and somehow apply enough pressure on Newton and disrupt his timing to force him into unadvised passes. If not, expect to see the same results as the Giants will suffer their 4th loss of the season. Offensively; the Giants need to put the ball into Saquon Barkley hands at least 25 times and target Odell Beckham at least 10 times. These are the Giants best offensive weapons and they need to be utilized as much as possible.
Final Score: Unless the Giants find a way to piece together an effective offensive line unit, nothing will change and the Giants will struggle this season and possibly end up with another top 10 pick in the 2019 draft. Can’t see the offensive line doing any better against the Carolina Panthers defensive front 7, the effort will be there, but in the end look for the Giants to cover the spread, but falter to the hands of the Panthers.