coleryan Posts:13356 Followers:19
On 09/16/2013 05:40 PM in NFL

New York Giants at Carolina Panthers: Preview and Pick

New York Giants at Carolina Panthers: Preview and Pick

The NFL schedule for week three features two teams that are desperate to get their first win of the season. The New York Giants will head south to take on the Carolina Panthers and both teams realize that another notch in the loss column could doom their playoff hopes even though they are just three weeks into this season.

New York Giants at Carolina Panthers Odds

The NFL betting line for this game opened up with the Panthers listed as (-3) point chalk at home. That line stood out to many football bettors although the Giants were dominated at home by the Denver Broncos. The public betting fans came out and hammered the Giants in this spot and that line is now as low as (-1.5) at several of the top rated sportsbooks. Want further proof that the Giants are the public bet? The sports betting consensus sites around the internet show that as many as 86 percent of the early money is coming in on the Giants.

This is a bit surprising considering how badly the Giants have played. The team has plenty of questions at running back and has had a slew of turnovers. The secondary has been beaten badly in the first two games. Eli Manning struggled to protect the football again Sunday, throwing four interceptions to bring his league-leading total to seven this season. Manning's deep ball was a big problem, as he completed 1-of-7 passes deeper than 20 yards downfield for 51 yards and two interceptions. Manning will have to protect the ball against a tough Carolina defense.

The defense played well against the Buffalo Bills but it was late penalty that gave the Bills to pull out an improbable last minute win. With Buffalo facing third-and-6 at Carolina's 29, Luke Kuechly was penalized for pass interference. Kuechly is one of the best but will have to avoid the silly penalties in crunch time. That defense will have to improve if they want to give Cam Netwon and the rest of the team a chance to get into the win column for the first time this season.

The latest NFL betting trends show some interesting betting angles for both of these teams. The Giants are 4-1 straight up against the Panthers in the last five meetings. But something has to give as the Giants are 0-5 straight up on the road and just 1-4 against the spread (ATS) in the last five games overall.

New York Giants at Carolina Panthers Pick

With plenty of time to go before the start of the regular season, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-4-0
coleryan Posts:13356 Followers:19
09/17/2013 03:36 PM

The Giants need to get rid of the Super Bowl countdown clock in their locker room and immediately replace it with one on their season, because they are perilously close to having it all fall apart before they even get to October.

The sense of urgency among the players is clear, especially after a fiery postgame locker room speech by Justin Tuck, reminding his teammates they have been in this early-season mess in the past and salvaged things quite nicely, specifically after starting 0-2 in 2007 and then winning the Super Bowl.

“You let me know when I don’t have a lot of emotion,” Tuck said of his tone. “They received it the way I wanted them to receive it. We move forward. It ain’t about what you say. It’s about what we do going forward. It’s about ascending, not getting down in lulls or start feeling bad for ourselves because we are 0-2. Woop-de-doo.”

Of course, only nine players remain from the 2007 team, so the leadership skills of Tuck and Eli Manning and Chris Snee must guide the Giants through this latest turbulence.

Bill Parcells, who received his Hall of Fame ring in a halftime ceremony, always said, “You are what your record says you are.” Right now, the Giants are 0-2 and they stink.

“We’ll have to see what kind of team we have and what kind of fight we have,” Snee said.

After Manning Bowl III became an anticlimactic 41-23 blowout loss to the Broncos, the Giants are officially a desperate team: They have given up 77 combined points to the Cowboys and Broncos and Manning has thrown a hard-to-believe seven interceptions. They already face a must-win Sunday in Carolina: Only 11.5% of the teams that started 0-2 since the playoffs were expanded to six teams per conference in 1990 have made it to the postseason. Just three teams have started 0-3 since 1990 and made the playoffs.

The Giants are really All About Eli and he threw four more interceptions against Denver, three of them in the end zone. At this rate, he will throw 56 interceptions, so he’s got to stop throwing the ball to the other team.

Seven in just two games is hard to imagine. “Obviously, that is never a goal,” Manning said with a slight smile. He said his goal is always to keep his interceptions in single digits. “I might have to start over from here, on that aspect,” he said.

In the preseason, the Giants embraced the challenge of becoming the first team to play the Super Bowl on its home field and the players see that countdown clock every day. But they are cracking under the pressure. In a stretch of just 5:12 spanning the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth, they went from trailing by just 17-16 to falling behind 38-16.

It started when Prince Amukamara forced a fumble by Demaryius Thomas that Mark Herzlich was in prime position to recover but couldn’t bring it in, allowing Knowshon Moreno to keep possession for the Broncos. Manning later on the drive shook loose from an ankle tackle to complete a third-down pass, setting up Moreno’s 25-yard TD run.

On the Giants next possession, Eli Manning’s pass for Rueben Randle was broken up by Tony Carter. The ball then hit Carter’s foot, sending it up in the air right to Chris Harris at the Giants’ 36. That set up Peyton Manning’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Julius Thomas. Then the game got out of control when Trindon Holliday returned a punt 81 yards for a touchdown.

“We have to hang in there,” Tom Coughlin said. “We have 14 games to go, we’ve been 0-2 before, we’ve dug ourselves into a hole before, and been able to fight our way out of it, and we did it with “team.” But the performance level has to come up.”

It starts with Manning. He was trying to throw the ball away at the end of the first half and instead was intercepted in the end zone. That eliminated a field goal attempt. The Giants can’t win without Manning playing at a much higher level. “I think Eli would be the first to say that it’s not the way we want it to be,” Coughlin said. “Somehow, some way, we’ve got to stop the interceptions.”

As Archie Manning walked toward the exit of MetLife Stadium, he was able to feel good that Peyton and the Broncos are 2-0 but felt the pain of Eli and the Giants being 0-2. “I wish it had been closer,” he said. “We don’t like it when one struggles a little bit there.”

Archie said his younger son has the resolve to get the Giants turned around. “He’ll hang tough, I promise you that,” he said. “He’ll hang tough. They all will. Tom Coughlin’s teams will hang tough. Not a good start, not the start you want. That’s football. It takes funny turns.”

About the only good news for the Giants is that the other three teams in the NFC East lost Sunday, so the Giants are one game behind the Cowboys and Eagles and tied with the Redskins. They’ve also never been worse than 5-3 at the halfway point in any of Coughlin’s first nine seasons.

The past doesn’t predict the future, especially in the NFL. The clock is ticking on the Giants and it’s not the Super Bowl clock.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-4-0
coleryan Posts:13356 Followers:19
09/18/2013 03:42 PM

The first two weeks of the 2013 NFL season haven’t been overly productive for the Carolina Panthers, especially quarterback Cam Newton.

After engaging in a defensive melee with the Seattle Seahawks in Week One, a game the Panthers could’ve easily won, Carolina struggled again in Week Two, this against a lowly Buffalo Bills squad.

Now 0-2, teammate and top wide receiver Steve Smith suggests that one of the main reasons for the struggles is because Newton is pressing.

Per Inside the Panthers: On his weekly radio appearance on WFNZ’s The Drive on Monday, Smith responded to critiques of Newton by saying the third-year quarterback is forcing too much too soon.

“What the current issue is, you have a young player pressing,” Smith said. “And what do I mean by pressing? You know when a young player, a receiver, if he doesn’t get a lot of passes, all of sudden instead of going down he fights for that extra yard, fumble. That’s what you’re seeing with Cam a little bit, I feel like, in the past game is, well, [imitates stammering] and now you got that pressing.

“And that pressing isn’t because, oh, it’s when you’re not moving the ball down the field. Young players do it. And he has to understand that. And that’s just part of being young. It’s not just a quarterback issue, it’s tight end, wide receiver, running back. It’s when you press and you have that competitiveness in you. You’re like, ‘Man, I can change things if I just throw it here, if I just do that.’ And that’s the only bad part about a young player is when they press. That’s what’s going on is that pressing.”

Newton hasn’t looked very comfortable at all this season, why the pressing, considering how solid of a season he had last year? An unknown, though hopefully for Newton and the Panther faithful, it gets reversed quickly.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-4-0
coleryan Posts:13356 Followers:19
09/19/2013 02:33 PM

Antrel Rolle is screaming for more excitement from the Giants defense, and 56 points (not including three special teams TDs) allowed in two games screams something is obviously wrong.

That just may mean a philosophical shift in the defense when the Giants face Cam Newton and the Panthers in Carolina on Sunday. After years of relying almost solely on a fierce front four to get to the quarterback, the Giants may finally have to unleash a more blitz-happy scheme, bringing multiple pass rushers.

“It’s getting to the point where we might have to take a few more chances,” DE Justin Tuck said on Tuesday at the kick off of his annual R.U.S.H. for Literacy program at Scholastic Headquarters in Manhattan. “Because we have to find a way to get to (Newton) and get to every quarterback we play. And not necessarily playing it on the safe side.”

Does Tuck want to use the blitz? No. But these aren’t the Michael Strahan Giants, and they may have no choice. They’ve collected just two measly sacks so far, and in last Sunday’s loss, they barely harassed Peyton Manning. It’s a development that Tuck called “shocking and frustrating.”

“That’s what we always built ourselves on, being the more physical team,” he said, when asked about the lack of a pass rush and the struggling run game.

“We have four guys who every time we’re in there are capable of getting there,” he added. “We’re just not getting there right now.”

That fall-off has trickled down through a squad that once fed off the sack. The rest of the defense has also struggled to make big plays (one interception and one fumble recovery so far), and a “certain level of swagger” has been missing, according to Rolle. During his weekly WFAN appearance, he recalled the Super Bowl run two seasons ago, and how, late in the year, the Giants possessed a “certain level of intensity, where the other teams were like, ‘Holy (cow)!’ ”

“Even when (we) are playing good football,” he said, “it’s really not showing too much because there’s no excitement.”

Tuck said Rolle was “dead on.” But it takes only one play to turn around a game or a season, he said.

“I think we were kind of waiting for that spark play,” Tuck said. “I think we were kind of waiting on somebody else to make that play. I think we’re out there hustling, I think we’re out there playing our butts off. I don’t think we’re out there having fun.”

Could a more aggressive approach solve that problem? There may not be a better time to test that theory. A secondary that routinely gave up big plays over the last two seasons has shown improvement, surrendering just one pass longer than 30 yards so far, and with three proven corners in Corey Webster, Terrell Thomas and Prince Amukamara, that group may be up to the increased coverage responsibilities of a blitzing scheme.

The Panthers, blown out by the Giants last season, 36-7, just may be the perfect opponent, Tuck said. “Carolina was the game for us kind of last year, where we went out and kind of dominated that game,” he said. “So hopefully it will be some deja vu.”

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-4-0
coleryan Posts:13356 Followers:19
09/20/2013 07:03 PM

For the first time since he's been in Charlotte, Panthers' quarterback Cam Newton walked into his required time with the local media and made an opening statement full of confidence and hope on Wednesday.

"There's a lot of encouragement in this locker room right now. There's nobody that's lingering on any losses or down about any particular thing, and that's what I want to see as a player and one of the leaders on this team," Newton said after the Panthers practiced for Sunday's home game against the Giants.

Later, at the same podium, Ron Rivera wrapped up his media availability with beads of sweat dotting his forehead, sounding about as downtrodden as he has since he became the team's head coach.

"Not in my wildest dreams did I expect to be where we are right now," Rivera said. "We had opportunities to win both games, I expected to win both of them, and it didn't work that way."

After starting the season with two losses in games they led in the fourth quarter, the difference between the young quarterback and embattled coach was striking. The former is still the future of the franchise. The latter may not be with the team as soon as next week.

Rivera earned a third season with the Panthers after a strong finish in 2012, but he still needed a postseason meeting with Jerry Richardson to convince the owner he deserved another year. A loss Sunday would drop the Panthers to 0-3 heading into the bye week, and Richardson may decide that could be a good time to make a change.

As if another slow start wasn't enough to put Rivera in a precarious situation, he now has to somehow get a badly banged-up secondary ready to face a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Eli Manning has struggled, leading the league with seven interceptions in his first two games, but Carolina's defensive backfield could give him a very good chance to get back on track.

Five defensive backs were on Wednesday's injury report, which didn't include Charles Godfrey, the Panthers' starting free safety who was put on the IR Tuesday with a torn Achilles tendon.

Cornerback D.J. Moore ruled himself out of Sunday's game with an MCL strain, cornerback Josh Thomas vowed to play despite suffering a concussion in Week 2, cornerback Josh Norman sat out with thigh and knee injuries, cornerback James Dockery was limited coming off thumb surgery, and safety Quintin Mikell missed practice with a sprained ankle.

The only healthy defensive backs on the roster this week are safety Mike Mitchell, cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, undrafted rookie Melvin White, and De'Andre Presley and Greg Gatson, who were each signed to the practice squad on Wednesday.

So the Panthers' starting secondary could look like this Sunday: Munnerlyn in his regular starting cornerback spot, Thomas at the other corner, Mitchell - who lost his starting strong safety job to Mikell - at free safety, and undrafted rookie Lester - who again, was just signed off the practice squad - at strong safety.

Despite the obvious mess, Mitchell claimed Wednesday, "If you're sleeping on our secondary, you'll get a rude awakening."

While confidence is nice, and it's unlikely Mitchell would admit the Panthers' secondary is in awful shape, it's hard not to imagine Manning and the Giants - who rank second in the league in pass offense - not targeting Carolina's most-depleted unit.

Despite it all, Rivera has to figure out a way to win or risk losing his job much sooner than anyone would have anticipated this year. And while the effects of Carolina's first two losses were evident on his face and in his tone Wednesday, the former Bears' linebacker isn't going down without one final push.

"I've got to be upbeat for 61 players and for 20 coaches. For me to bury my head in the sand is not going to get it done," Rivera said. "My approach is there's another week, another opportunity. We'll go out there and give it our best and we expect to win."

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-4-0
coleryan Posts:13356 Followers:19
09/21/2013 11:56 AM

The Carolina Panthers will be without starting cornerback Josh Thomas and possibly starting defensive tackle Dwan Edwards on Sunday against the New York Giants.

That's not good news for an 0-2 team that will face quarterback Eli Manning and the league's top passing game.

Team officials said on Friday that Thomas was not cleared by doctors after suffering a concussion in Sunday's 24-23 loss at Buffalo. Thomas practiced on Thursday and Friday and, according to coach Ron Rivera, passed all the necessary team tests.

But as Thomas wrote on Twitter:

Edwards missed his third straight day of practice on Friday with a thigh injury.

"Not looking good," said Rivera, adding a decision on Edwards' status will be made on Saturday.

If Edwards can't play, Colin Cole will start beside rookie Star Lotulelei.

Rivera left it open that either veteran Drayton Florence or Josh Norman would start on the left side for Thomas. Florence was signed on Wednesday night after being among the final cuts in the preseason.

Norman has been fighting through a deep thigh bruise and sprained knee.

Safety Quintin Mikell (ankle), corner D.J. Moore (foot) and running back Kenjon Barner (foot) already have been ruled out. Backup corner James Dockery (thumb/shoulder) will be a game-time decision.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-4-0
coleryan Posts:13356 Followers:19
09/21/2013 12:05 PM

New York Giants cornerback Corey Webster missed a second straight day of practice with a hip injury and is officially listed as doubtful for Sunday's game against the Panthers in Carolina. It's unclear how the injury occurred, since Webster practiced Wednesday with no apparent problems.

Webster"Evidently he has an issue with his hip flexor, in that area somewhere," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said after Friday's practice. "He couldn't practice yesterday and he couldn't go today."

Coughlin indicated that Aaron Ross, who didn't take a single defensive snap in Sunday's loss to the Broncos, would be the first one up to take Webster's spot if Webster can't play. But the Giants might have to adjust their coverage plan to put their healthy starter, Prince Amukamara, against top Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith for the whole game. Terrell Thomas has been the slot cornerback in the first two games, but he and Coughlin declined to say whether that would continue in this one.

Both secondaries will be banged up in this one. The Panthers lost one of their starting safeties, Charles Godfrey, for the season with an Achilles injury last week, and they list the other starting safety, Quintin Mikell, as out for this game with ankle injury.

Other Giants injury and practice notes:

Thomas has held up well through two games as he completes his recovery from a third reconstructive ACL surgery on his knee. He is good friends with Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis, who also has had three knee reconstructions. The two text regularly and have supported each other through their recoveries. Thomas said he and Davis are the only two NFL players who have made it back from three ACL surgeries, and that he's looking forward to seeing his friend and being on the same field with him Sunday.

Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks missed practice, but the team said it was an excused absence for personal reasons and that Nicks is healthy and will play Sunday.

Tackle David Diehl (thumb) and tight end Adrien Robinson (foot) are listed as out. Guard Brandon Mosley (back) and quarterback Ryan Nassib (ankle) were listed as limited practice participants and are probable.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-4-0
coleryan Posts:13356 Followers:19
09/22/2013 07:25 AM

This game is interesting because an 0-3 start will be trouble for one of these teams. The Giants have had too many turnovers and even though they are losing the Panthers have played the better defense.

Pick: Panthers +1.5

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-4-0