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Panthers at Giants Preview

By: Evan

The Giants go into week 16 essentially having to win out in order to make the playoffs. They got off to a fast 5-0 start but have since stumbled to an 8-6 record and more importantly, haven't won consecutive games since. They now have to hope they can win three in a row and have either the Packers of Cowboys drop one of their next games. For now let's focus on the next and thus most important game at hand: this week's showdown against the Panthers.

Unlike last week, the Giants should not expect to get tons of pressure from their front four. In fact, it might be more likely that the front four will get pushed around as the offensive line for the Panthers is possibly the strongest part of their offensive team. For the Giants to win this game, they have to shut down the Panthers running game. The passing attack for Carolina is not terribly frightening, especially with undrafted back-up Matt Moore starting. While he has played well in the starts he has made, you have to believe if he truly was that good, Fox would have started him long ago when Delhomme was struggling to keep his turnovers down. Even with Steve Smith I believe if the Giants can hold the Panthers running game in check, Moore will have trouble beating the Giants through the air. If the Panthers can not score early and Eli can put up some quick points, the Panthers will have to become one-dimensional, making it easier for the pass rush to pick up.

Offensively I believe the Giants are more adept to handle the Panthers defense than the Vikings were. Last week the Vikings struggled to run the ball and moved almost exclusively to the pass. This allowed Peppers to do what he loves most and focus only on bringing down the quarterback. Left tackle Mckinnie was unable to contain him and the Vikings never slid protection over, giving Favre less time to pass. While the Giants do not have a far better offensive line, I believe the Giants have a better chance of keeping a balanced offense. The Panthers will not be trying to shut down the running game as they know they have to focus on shutting down Manning. With the open running lanes, Gilbride can compliment Eli and this top passing attack with the running game to keep Peppers and the rest of the defensive line on their heals. If the Panthers can not get a good rush going the Giants will rip through them with a good possibility of having another game of 30+ points.

As long as the Giants stick to their game plan they should be able to beat the Panthers. Offensively the Panthers should not provide too many problems for the Giants. The way the Giants will lose this game is if the defense can not contain the Panthers running game. If the improved run defense can continue for another week, the Panthers will have trouble sustaining drives and putting up points.

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