The Giants and Panthers both come into Week 3 without a win on their records. The two will face off on Sunday in what should be the first win of the season for one of theses teams (unless there is a tie). This matchup features two former first-overall picks at quarterback and two talented defenses.
For the Giants, a win would be a far cry from their last two games, which ended in embarrassing fashion. New York quarterback Eli Manning leads the league with seven interceptions and has looked like a shell of himself. If it were not for wide receiver Victor Cruz, the Giants would have fared even worse on offense.
The Panthers have lost in two tight games. While quarterback Cam Newton has done all he can to keep the Panthers in the game, their opponents' complete-team performances have out-shined Carolina. The home team will do all it can in Week 3 to not let another win fall out of its grasp.
Meet the Panthers
The Panthers enter Week 3 at 0-2, but it is not for lack of effort. A 12-7 opening day loss to the Seahawks and a Week 2 24-23 loss on the road to the Bills proves that Carolina fought tooth-and-nail to the end of each game. Quarterback Cam Newton is 37-of-61 passing with a completion percentage of 60.7. He has three passing touchdowns, one interception and a passer rating of 86.4. He has been helped on offense by tight end Greg Olsen and wide receiver Steve Smith, who have each have a receiving touchdown.
On defense, the Panthers need to cause more turnovers, with just one interception and two forced fumbles in two games. The defense also needs to get to the opposing quarterback more frequently, as it only have three sacks on the season. Defensive ends Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy will have a nice matchup against the Giants' aging offensive line.
Meet the Giants
The Giants are a team that needs to improve on offense, specifically at running back and quarterback. While Manning has put up several yards, his constant turnovers have been a serious vice for New York. The same can be said about running back David Wilson, who put the ball on the ground twice in Week 1.
For the Giants' defense, the secondary needs to play the pass much better. Peyton Manning and Tony Romo have both picked on the New York's weak defensive backs with long throws and have greatly exposed its weaknesses in coverage. The Giants' cornerbacks and safeties could also improve with the help of a better pass rush from the front four. Carolina's Steve Smith will be a challenge for New York.
Local Takes: Panthers
Byron Bell allowed 4.5 sacks to an almost forgotten Mario Williams last week. But it wasn't just another poor performance in the passing game... As CSR member BillWriter points out in his piece, when the offense started running to the middle and to the left in the second half, the running game was much more effective.
Yes, this was one game. But Bell's poor performance shouldn't come as a surprise. He was over-matched in week one against Seattle's Red Bryant and Michael Bennett, so much so that the offense had to scheme around his deficiencies, making him perform a vertical set just to keep Newton off his back.
Local Takes: Giants
Ed Valentine of Big Blue View is tired of the turmoil that the Giants seem to face nearly every season:
Thing is, the Giants HAVE been in this position before. No, they have not been 0-2 to start a season since 2007. Every regular season during the Tom Coughlin era except 2008, however, the Giants have faced some sort of crisis that left them in must-win situations. The difference this season is that the crisis comes at the beginning, not in its usual November or December position.
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BTW I lamented the fact that the #NYG didn't draft RT Mitchell Schwartz two years ago, up until I watched his last two games.— Dennis M. Esser (@coachesser) September 18, 2013
The Panthers have re-signed CB Drayton Florence http://t.co/2sjUeV4RU8— BW Smith (@bdubsmitty) September 18, 2013
Panthers worst defender (and it's not close): Jon Beason. 8 tackles, 3 missed tackles on the season. Worst on the team in pass coverage— James Dator (@James_Dator) September 18, 2013
SB Nation's Ryan Van Bibber is picking the Giants in this game:
At least this game has shock value, two underachievers flailing at each other like drunken teenagers fighting behind the movie theater. One of these two teams will right its course ... eventually. I have more confidence in the Giants doing that first, at least without a wholesale change in leadership.
The odds are even in this matchup, according to Odds Shark.
The Giant will travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs in Week 4, and the Panthers will be on a bye week.