Week 3: New York Giants At Carolina Panthers
- QuarterbackThe Giants know that Eli Manning is not going to make mistakes – especially when the game reaches the critical stages of the fourth quarter. In addition to his accuracy, he can escape pressure and find the open receiver before he lets go of the ball.Few quarterbacks have the natural talent of Cam Newton, and he has been working hard since being drafted last year. Newton’s ability to execute will be tested severely by the Giants defense.
- OffenseWhen the Giants made it to the Super Bowl and won it last year, they found their running game in the postseason. They have struggled with that part of their game in the regular season however. Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks can give the Giants big-play ability.Newton knows that wide receiver Steve Smith is one of the toughest and hardest working receivers in the NFL despite his lack of size. Running back DeAngelo Williams can be an explosive back who will test the Giants defense.
- DefenseThe Giants have the most powerful front four in the NFL and that unit has the speed and nastiness to cause problems for Newton. The Panthers will struggle to block Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora.The Panthers want to make great strides on defense after a miserable showing in 2011. They showed their aggressiveness on defensive back Charles Godfrey’s 9-yard interception return for a touchdown against the Saints in Week Two.
- Special TeamsThe Giants take pride in their ability to cover kickoffs and punts. They rarely leave open lanes for returns to exploit. Punter Steve Weatherford gets great height on his punts and Lawrence Tynes has shown he can hit clutch field goals.The Panthers have made quite a few changes in their special team after they struggled in both punt and kickoff return coverage. It’s too early to say whether the changes will be successful in 2012, but rookie punter Brad Nortman has a big leg.
The Giants have the edges in all the categories, but the Panthers are solid as well. Cam Newton may not rank as high as Eli Manning in terms of consistency, but he is capable of a spectacular effort that can keep his team close. A great effort by the Panthers here, but the Giants have too much for them in the fourth quarter.