Charlotte, NC. Week 2 in the NFL was a big one for a lot of teams, as half the league was dealing with the potential of starting the season at 0-2. This was the exact situation for the Carolina Panthers and New York Giants, as both lost their week 1 contests. Carolina bounced back with a nice home win over New Orleans, and looked very much like the team everyone saw for much of last year. Cam Newton made some plays, the running game looked strong, and the defense harassed the Saints all day. For the New York Giants, it took a huge 4th quarter comeback against Tampa Bay to notch their first victory. It was looking like the Giants were going to fall to 0-2 for much of the day, but Eli Manning brought em back for a late game win. So heading into this Thursday, both teams are coming off wins, and both are looking at this game as one that may propel them as they head into the season. Although the Panthers and Giants both sit at 1-1, these two teams seem to be headed in very different directions. With that said, here are the 7 reasons why the Carolina Panthers will knock off the New York Giants……
1 – Cam Newton - In week 2, Cam finally looked like himself and made plays with both his arm and his legs. He is one of the most difficult players in the NFL to defend, and is built like a linebacker. The threat of him running or throwing will help slow down the Giants pass rush.
2 – The Giants RB Issues - Ahmad Bradshaw may not play in this game, and even if he does, the running game has been lackluster to begin 2012. If Bradshaw is out, young runners Andre Brown and David Wilson will be leaned upon to do something on the ground. Carolina will probably make the Giants beat them on the ground, which will be a problem for New York.
3 – The Shaky Giants Pass D - This pass defense is iffy at best right now, and has gotten torched by Dallas and Tampa Bay. Carolina may pass more than normal on Thursday knowing this, and there should be plenty of places to look for Newton and his receivers.
4 – Panthers Running Game - Now that Jonathan Stewart is back from a sprained ankle, Carolina went back to the two-headed RB monster in week 2. The duo of Stewart and DeAngelo Williams is very formidable, as both guys got rolling this past Sunday. Add in the threat of Newton running the option with either of these two runners, and it should pose plenty of problems for the Giants sometimes overly aggressive defense.
5 – Giants Not Playing Well - Sometimes, you don’t need to look at any stats to see how a team is doing. After watching the defending champs during the first two weeks of 2012, they just look a little off. Is it lack of hunger now? Is it that they miss Brandon Jacobs and Mario Manningham? Hard to say, but it took a massive comeback against the Bucs for them to even be at 1-1. They just aren’t themselves right now, which won’t help having to play on Thursday.
6 – Panthers Opportunity - A home game against the defending Super Bowl Champions on national TV. This has been a recipe for countless teams in the past to make their mark and get amped up to show the world they will be a factor. Like many previous Super Bowl champions trying to defend their title, they typically run into some buzzsaws the year after they win it all. This game against the Panthers has all the makings of being just that. Carolina should be quite a bit more juiced up for this one, and that momentum could be too much for the Giants on this night.
7 – No Giants Urgency - New York always seems to play a lot better when they HAVE to win. When there isn’t much on the line, like in this early season matchup, it makes sense that they will come out a bit flat. After this one, when the Giants are 1-2, then they will get lit up by coach Tom Coughlin and probably play better in future weeks. A Carolina win this Thursday, 30-20, seems just about right.
Denver Sports by J Simp