On Thursday night the sports world will turn its attention to Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC as the Carolina Panthers host the defending Super Bowl Champions the New York Giants. Giants fans have hopes of returning to the big game this season but expectations around Carolina are high as well, mainly due to the potential explosiveness of the Panthers offense. All eyes in the NFL will be on the game and the excitement is building. Panther fans are looking for a return to the playoffs after a three-year hiatus meanwhile New York is trying to reach its third Super Bowl in six years.
Some of the key aspects fans will be watching in this game are: the play of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, the pressure from the Giants defensive line, and the coverage of the Carolina secondary. If Newton can limit his mistakes it will make it easier for the Panthers offense to get into a flow and put points on the board. The Giants d-line has the ability to put pressure on Newton and force him to run or force bad passes. If the big guys up front for the Panthers hold tight, it could be a long night for the Giants. On the flip side of the ball New York quarterback Eli Manning will be looking to carve up the Panthers corner backs. Manning had a big game last week against Tampa Bay and is looking to repeat his performance. Giants wide receivers Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks could play pivotal roles in this game. Both playmakers have caught 237 yards each in the Giants first 2 games of the season. If they can get some separation against the Panthers secondary they may embarrass the home team on national television.
Taking all things into consideration, I like the Panthers in this game. They are fresh off a home victory against their division rival Saints and are looking to show the NFL that they are a real threat in this league. I think the read option and versatility of Cam Newton can cause trouble for the Giants defensive line forcing their linebackers to step up to help make plays. If this happens Steve Smith and Brandon Lafell (who had a big game against the Saints) will have space to get open downfield. I also think the injuries that have depleted the Giants backfield could put pressure on Eli Manning to put up the slack and take to the air a little more which could give the Panthers an opportunity to blitz more and cause some chaos up front. I see some points being put on the board by both teams and this should be an exciting game. Final score: Carolina 31 New York 23.
–Bruce Wilson blogs for The Fan 610 AM Sports Radio and also on Brucedogg.Wordpress.com. He is the owner of Superior Car Service, a transportation and chauffeur service. You can follow him on Twitter @BruceRWilson.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of Sports Radio 610 AM WFNZ The Fan