0-3 cannot happen. Will the Giants turn their season around week 3 in Carolina?
My week 2 keys to the game were thrown out once again due to countless errors by the Giants. Welker and Julius Thomas had their TDs, but there was no pass rush, and Peyton Manning dissected the Giants defense drive after drive. The turnovers, missed opportunities and zero run game was a recipe for disaster.
Now the Giants travel south to Carolina, here are my 5 keys to getting a victory over the Panthers:
1. Eli Manning
It is obvious, this Giants team will go as far as Eli will take them. Starting off the year with 7 interceptions will lead you to a 0-2 record almost every time. This week however, Eli will be going up against a decimated secondary. Starting cornerback Josh Thomas has been ruled out with a concussion, and safety Charles Godfrey is done for the season. There are even more injuries to backups. He went 27 for 35 last year against Carolina, lets see if he can top that this week .
2. Contain Cam Newton
The Panthers will be throwing in some read-option offense and this is where the defense has to be careful. The Giants have to keep Cam Newton in the pocket at all costs. Newton is a big guy and has no problem taking off and running. If the Giants keep him in the pocket, he is forced to pass which is where he runs into problems. The scouting report on Cam is that he has a problem reading defenses, that he cannot throw into the middle of the field, and likes to keep the ball on the outer thirds. With that said, make him throw in the middle of the field, run a cover 3 defense if you play zone, taking away the outsides. If Cam can get out of the pocket and has the ability to run, the Giants are in for a long day.
3. Stop Greg Olsen
Greg Olsen had 7 receptions for 98 yards against the Giants last year, and leads the Panthers through two games in receptions (12), and yards (140). Giants have had problems with TE’s in the past and Olsen presents yet another challenge for this defense. Paysinger/Williams will have to be on their “A” game in coverage, maybe they will roll a safety up as well. Either way, Cam enjoys throwing to him, and he must be stopped.
4. Can Aaron Ross Be A Starter?
Corey Webster is doubtful this week, so after not playing a down against the Broncos, Aaron Ross may be inserted into the starting role opposite Prince. When Prince went down against Dallas, Ross stepped up and did perfectly fine. He prepares for every game like he is starting, and it showed in Dallas. Look for him to show his worth this week and have a nice game.
5. Running Game
The Giants are dead last in rushing this season with 73 total yards on 33 carries. A good offense always needs some sort of balance between run and pass, and that is something the Giants do not have. However, starting defensive tackle Dwan Edwards is “very questionable” this week for Carolina. With a banged up secondary, the Panthers will be more focused on stopping the pass than the run, so why not have this week be the week to break out in the backfield?
And there you have it, my 5 keys to the game. I never like to say “must win” this early in a season, but this week is definitely a must win. It is a perfect game to set the tone for the rest of the season both defensively and offensively. Have a well rounded game and get the wheels in motion.