Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thursday Night Football: Scouting Report

Each week I will have a post about the Monday Night Football game along with the Thursday Night Football game. This weeks Thursday Night matchup is the New York Giants vs. Carolina Panthers.

Keys to the Game:

- Carolina must establish their running game. The Panthers have an intimidating arsenal of runners; DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert, not to mention Cam Newton. In their first game, Carolina rushed for a measly 10 yards against Tampa Bay, but then gashed New Orleans for 219 rushing yards. They may not need that much production against the Giants, but 10 yards just isn't going to result in a W.

Rookie RB David Wilson had a
rough debut against Dallas
-  New York can't afford these slow starts. There's no denying the fact that Eli Manning has raised his game in the fourth quarter. However, they can't expect to score 25 points every fourth quarter like they managed against Tampa. Eli will have to be more consistent from opening kickoff until the clock reaches double-zero.

- Somebody will have to step up for the Giants, who are without WR Hakeem Nicks, T David Diehl and RB Ahmad Bradshaw. New York is much easier to defend when you can focus of stopping Victor Cruz. Somebody is going to need a big game for the Giants, maybe TE Martellus Bennett or rookie RB David Wilson.

- If the Giants run game wasn't bad enough, with Bradshaw's absence now, the rookie RB will face a much bigger workload. He fumbled early against the Cowboys and hasn't seen much action since (5 total carries for 10 yards). Carolina should be attacking the rookie and going for the football. Test him early and often.

- The O-Line of the Panthers was brutal against Tampa's front four. Newton played a solid game but you won't win games in the NFL when you rush for 10 total yards. DE Jason Pierre-Paul and company will be pinning their ears back and going after Cam, especially if the Panthers run game isn't effective. Will Cam have enough time in the pocket to deliver the football on time?

Key Matchups:

- RB David Wilson vs. LB Jon Beason: Beason is an explosive linebacker who will be coming full speed at the rookie. Wilson has very little experience in the NFL and he will be tested. Is he up for the challenge?

Look for Cam to find his favorite
target early and often
- WR Steve Smith vs. Giants secondary: Steve Smith is still a playmaker in this league and a very good wide-receiver. The Giants secondary has been shaky to say the least. Smith will be looking to match what Tampa WR Vincent Jackson did against the questionable secondary of New York.

- Giants DEs vs. Panthers Ts: LT Jordan Gross is a really good player. He should be able to hold his own against whoever the Giants put up against him. The right tackle spot is a little more nerve-wracking. Byron Bell tops Carolina's depth chart but it looks like a mis-match against Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, or even JPP if he lines up over there.


Giants 23 Carolina 27

- I think Carolina's home crowd will be an advantage. The game will be tight, but New York is so much easier to defend without Nicks and no run game. Carolina will have decent success running the football and Cam Newton will have a solid game.

New York Giants v. Carolina Panthers 8:20 PM ET on NFL Network

Follow me on Twitter @Matt_Chastain25 and @eaglesallday95, I'll follow you back.

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