Giants, Panthers Shun The 0-3 Start
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By Ted Fleming
NEW YORK GIANTS BY THE NUMBERS
2012 Record: 9-7 (Missed playoffs)
2013 RECORD: 0-2
Record vs. Panthers: 4-4
Streak vs. Panthers: W2
Last Meeting: Giants 36, Panthers 7 (9/20/12)
Next Game: Sunday at Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte NC (74,455) 1:00 p.m.
Not many people expected the New York Football Giants to be 0-2 at this stage of the season, including the Giants themselves, but it is not like they haven’t been here before.
While history shows that a team that drops the first two games of the season has just a 12 percent chance of making the playoffs, the Giants have to look no further than 2007 when they started the same way and finished up by winning a little game known as the Super Bowl.
That is not good news for the Carolina Panthers who are up next for the team from New Jersey. The Giants are looking to take out their frustrations on anyone right now after the 41-23 shellacking they took from the Denver Broncos in what was dubbed the “Manning Bowl” with Peyton beating up on his younger brother Eli.
The Panthers are down after two stunning fourth quarter losses and they could be just the medicine the Giants need to get healthy in the figurative sense, not literally. They would need a minor miracle to get back some of their key players by game time.
Two starters, tight end Brandon Myers (ribs) and wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (finger), are already questionable for Sunday’s 1:00 p.m. tilt at Bank of America Stadium. In addition, backup TE Adrien Robinson is out indefinitely, as is tackle David Diehl. That is just on the offensive side of the ball where Eli Manning would be taking his shots at a Carolina secondary that is well beyond next man up due to their lack of healthy bodies.
Turnovers and a lack of a productive ground game have also hurt New York this season. Manning has seven interceptions, almost halfway to the 15 he had all last season, and the team has a total of 10 turnovers in just two games. It gets worse. The Giants have given up more points (77) than what their entire running game has gained (73). That is a good reason why they are 0-2 and made the decision to bring back running back Brandon Jacobs.
The Return of Brandon Jacobs
The 31-year-old Jacobs is more of a stop-gap measure because former first round pick David Wilson has been benched for lack of productivity and his inability to hold on to the ball. If Jacobs can get into shape by Sunday he is sure to rush for more yards than the entire team did against the Broncos when they had 50, especially against a Carolina front seven that is suddenly vulnerable against the run.
Jacobs knows the offense – he spent his first seven years in the NFL with the Giants gaining 4,849 yards including a pair of 1,000 yard seasons – and was once considered a clubhouse leader before the spat he had with the New York brass over salary and his one season with the 49ers that involved a pair of suspensions.
Sunday is one of the most important games in Giants franchise history. They have not started 0-3 this century and you would have to go all the way back to 1996 for the last time it happened when Dan Reeves was head coach. That team finished 6-10. To avoid that ignominy they will have to win on the road against a team that is also 0-2 and trying to reverse their early season misfortune.
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Ted Fleming is a freelance writer covering all things Carolina Panthers. His work can be found on Examiner.com.