NY Giants Hit The Road At Carolina Panthers

By: Michael Robinson | Monday, September 17, 2012

The New York Giants are breathing a sigh of relief, but know they must play a lot more consistent football when they travel to the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night.

Don Best has just released the Week 3 NFL odds and New York is anywhere between a pick’em and 1½-point road favorite. The total is much steadier at 52 across the board. The NFL Network has the 8:20 p.m. (ET) broadcast.

The Giants were shocked in their opener versus Dallas, 24-17 as 3½-point home favorites and were trailing Tampa at home last week, 27-13 deep into the third quarter. Another loss would have been disastrous as only three of 46 eventual Super Bowl winners started their season 0-2.

New York made a furious comeback against Tampa that included 22 points in the final 6:48. Quarterback Eli Manning again showed the flair for the dramatic after winning two Super Bowls in the last five years. He threw for 510 total yards to make up for a dreadful first half (three picks).

The 9-point spread against the Bucs did drop the Giants to 0-2 against the spread, although Tom Coughlin could care less about that right now. The coach needs to find a third receiver for Manning outside of the explosive Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. Mario Manningham is playing for San Fran now and really missed in that regard.

The running game also has questions with Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) leaving the game last week and questionable Thursday. The seldom-used Andre Brown was given carries over first round rookie David Wilson, not a good sign for the latter.

The Giants will not be fazed playing in the hostile environment however, finishing 5-0 SU and ATS away from home last year (including the Super Bowl).

Carolina (1-1 straight up, 1-1 ATS) also had trouble with Tampa, losing 16-10 as 3-point road favorites opening week. They then rebounded last week with a 35-27 home win over a reeling New Orleans bunch playing without suspended coach Sean Payton.

It was a huge win for the Panthers who went just 3-5 SU (5-3 ATS) at home last year.

Quarterback Cam Newton is trying to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump after a fine rookie season. He only had 20 pass attempts last week, but still managed to throw for 253 yards. He also didn’t have an interception after two against Tampa.

Carolina is now 6-1 SU and ATS in Newton’s career when he throws less than 30 passes and 1-10 SU and 4-7 ATS when over 30.

Coach Ron Rivera would love to keep Newton’s passes down against New York, but he needs the running game to be working effectively. Newton combined with backs Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams for 191 yards on 38 rushes (5.0 ypc) versus New Orleans. Stewart missed the opening week with an ankle injury and makes a big difference.

The Giants have one of the best pass rushes in football, but it’s not as effective against Newton who has the speed to break containment and then pass or run. That keeps guys like Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck more honest and not just rushing with abandon.

The ‘over’ is 4-0 in the last four meetings between these teams, playing three straight years from 2008-2010, right before the Newton era began.

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