After posting a thrilling comeback victory Sunday afternoon, the defending Super Bowl champs are at it again with an equally difficult task as the G-Men travel to Carolina to take on the dangerous Cam Newton and his Carolina Panthers.
The Giants are in the midst of quite the Super Bowl hangover it would appear, however their last-second comeback win last week against the mediocre Buccaneers may have snapped them out of it. The Giants were trailing by as much as 14 points, before storming back in the waning minutes of the game to win a wild one. That said, despite that thrilling affair there seems to be something missing from the Giants this year, and they better figure it out quick before taking on a budding star like Cam Newton. Making matters worse for New York is the fact they’ll be forced to take on the Panthers without key stars like Ahmad Bradshaw and Hakeem Nicks. Their offensive attack should be severely limited, and untested bench plays will surely need to come up big if they are to win Thursday evening.
The Panthers meanwhile followed up a mediocre road performance against the Bucs in Week 1 with a commanding victory over the New Orleans Saints. Carolina’s offense clicked last week and can hurt teams in a variety of ways. One soft spot about this team is their defense, but facing a Giants squad missing some key targets might cure what currently ails them.
Giants vs. Panthers Spread & Betting Odds:
New York Giants +2 (-110)
@ Carolina Panthers -2 (-110)
Over 50 (-110)
Under 50 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Giants vs. Panthers Pick:
This is an intriguing Thursday night match-up featuring one of the league’s most puzzling teams in the Giants against the emerging Carolina Panthers. Picking a side here seems like a risky proposition given the fact that you just never know which New York side will show up, so let’s focus our attention on the total.
This number opened at 52 points which is a fair amount considering the fact that this game is riddled with significant injuries and the average NFL total is just 44 points. This seems to be a simple case of a market overreaction on a stand-alone Thursday night game, featuring two teams with defenses perceived in a highly negative manner.
However, despite what the initial weeks have told us about these teams, expect different approaches from both squads come Thursday evening. The Giants are not only missing key playmakers in Hakeem Nicks and Ahmad Bradshow, but will also have to endure the loss of starting right tackle David Diehl and third wide-out Domenik Hixon. The Giants are severely banged up at the moment, and despite the brilliance of Eli Manning, he’ll be hard-pressed to duplicate last week’s performance against a competent Panthers pass defense. Carolina does struggle vs. the run, but through the air they have proven to be adept this season. Led by cornerback Chris Gamble, the Panthers have managed the 13th best pass defense through two games. Plus, when you factor in that one of those match-ups came last week against the potent attack of Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, the Giants will likely be forced to the ground for a more certain route to moving the chains.
Running plays obviously kill the clock and expect a lot more of the ground attack from both teams on Thursday. How successful they’ll be with the run remains to be seen. The Giants will be handing the ball over to unproven youngster Andre Brown Thursday night, and it’s no certainty the NC State grad will be able to handle this workload or exploit Carolina’s vulnerabilities. Look for the Giants to struggle with the run, become one-dimensional with the pass, and have a more difficult time than anticipated against a surprising Panthers defense.
Unders aren’t necessarily the most popular of plays on nationally televised stand-alone NFL contests, however in this instance, it’s a simple case of market overreaction. The Giants are a much better defensive squad than they’ve shown thus far and will take the challenge of stopping Cam Newton personally. Conversely, the Panthers defensive unit is much better than how they’re perceived by the betting public. Though it seems odd to say the Giants offense will endure difficulties on offense Thursday night, the loss of Nicks is absolutely huge and Manning and company will have an uphill task. The Panthers will likely double-team Cruz, while not being concerned about any other of New York’s mediocre targets. The pressure will be on Thursday night, and the conditions for an abundance of points do not seem ideal.
Finally, too many people are making a huge deal of Eli Manning’s yardage last week. Sure, 500 yards is one heck of an accomplishment, but it was done out of necessity because his team was trailing by so many points. The only way back in that contest was through the air, as run plays kill valuable clock time. Expect a tight game, with a more balanced Giants attack. Fifty-two is a lot of points, and though this number has dropped to 50 in the lead-up to game action, feel comfortable backing the Under in this spot.
PICK = Under 50 (-110)