Breaking down Giants vs. Panthers

We all know how huge Sunday night's game against the Carolina Panthers is. Both teams are 11-3 and this game will, largely, determine the path each will have to take once the NFC playoffs begin.

Yes, home-field advantage is on the line. That, however, might not be the biggest reason the Giants would love to knock off the Panthers. In the Daily News today, Filip Bondy makes the point that the beaten-up Giants need rest for many of their top players, and a victory Sunday would provide nearly three weeks of it.

With that in mind, let's break down some of the keys to Sunday's game from the Giants' perspective.

Offensively

  1. Run the football -- Since shredding the Baltimore Ravens for 207 yards rushing, the Giants have only reached 100 yards on the ground once in the last four games (108 vs. Washington). It is what the Giants do best, and they have to re-establish it. Having the 265-pound Brandon Jacobs would help, and Jacobs is intent on being in the lineup. As Tom Coughlin said, the Giants need the "physical tone" Jacobs provides. The Giants may also catch a break this week if Panther nose tackle Maake Kemoeatu can't play.
  2. Get Julius Peppers blocked -- The Dallas defensive ends embarrassed Giants tackles David Diehl, Kareem McKenzie and Kevin Boothe last Sunday. Peppers (12.5 sacks) is one of the best in the business, and no matter which side he lines up on the Giants have got to give the tackles help and keep him off Eli Manning.
  3. Stretch the field -- I don't care which wide receiver it is, the Giants need to hit a play or two down the field. With Domenik Hixon, Sinorice Moss and Mario Manningham they have the speed. It's time for somebody to make a play.

Defensively

  1. Control the running game -- With DeAngelo Williams (1229 yards) and Jonathan Stewart (751) Carolina has been chewing teams up on the ground. The Panthers' 'Smash and Dash' duo has been doing what the Giants 'Earth, Wind & Fire' trio did to teams the first two-thirds of the season. The Giants have struggled against the run the past two weeks, giving up big plays the past two weeks and not controlling Philadelphia at all. It is a formidable challenge, but the Giants have to slow the Panthers' ground game. If Fred Robbins can play, that would be a huge help.
  2. Giants corners vs. Carolina receivers -- The Giants recently handed Corey Webster a $43.5 million contract. He is going to begin earning it Sundayy, when he likely draws all-world wide receiver Steve Smith (70 catches, six touchdowns). Aaron Ross vs. Muhsin Muhammad on the other side will also be a terrific matchup. Muhammad's 54 catches is more than any Giants receiver. The Giants have to find a way to limit these two because Carolina hasn't proven that they really have anywhere else for Jake Delhomme to throw the football. And, yes, limiting them is a huge task.
  3. Get some pressure on Delhomme -- It would be nice if the Giants could do this with a four-man rush, which they have not been able to do in recent weeks. Blitzing corners and safeties is very dangerous against Carolina. If the Giants do that and don't get home, they are one-on-one against Smith and Muhammad.

NOTE: For more game analysis, there is a fabulous Giants vs. Panthers debate on ESPN.com between bloggers Matt Mosley and Pat Yasinskas.


Passing

Passing Rushing Sacks
G Rating Comp Att Pct Yds Y/G Y/A TD INT Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD Sack YdsL
David Carr 2 127.1 1 1 100.0 5 2.5 5.0 1 0 5 -5 -2.5 -1.0 0 0 0
Eli Manning 14 86.4 261 433 60.3 2938 209.9 6.8 20 10 19 11 0.8 0.6 1 23 146

Rushing

Rushing Receiving
G Rush Yds Y/G Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Y/G Avg Lng TD
Ahmad Bradshaw 13 57 327 25.2 5.7 77 1 4 44 3.4 11.0 18 1
David Carr 2 5 -5 -2.5 -1.0 -1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Domenik Hixon 14 2 26 1.9 13.0 15 0 35 463 33.1 13.2 41 1
Brandon Jacobs 12 195 1002 83.5 5.1 44 12 5 31 2.6 6.2 9 0
Eli Manning 14 19 11 0.8 0.6 13 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Mario Manningham 3 1 -12 -4.0 -12.0 -12 0 2 5 1.7 2.5 6 0
Derrick Ward 14 152 733 52.4 4.8 22 2 38 375 26.8 9.9 48 0

Receiving

Receiving
G Rec Yds Y/G AVG Lng TD
Kevin Boss 11 28 338 30.7 12.1 28 5
Ahmad Bradshaw 13 4 44 3.4 11.0 18 1
Plaxico Burress 9 35 454 50.4 13.0 33 4
Domenik Hixon 14 35 463 33.1 13.2 41 1
Brandon Jacobs 12 5 31 2.6 6.2 9 0
Darcy Johnson 5 2 2 0.4 1.0 1 2
Mario Manningham 3 2 5 1.7 2.5 6 0
Michael Matthews 2 2 26 13.0 13.0 13 0
Sinorice Moss 7 10 110 15.7 11.0 23 2
Steve Smith 14 52 530 37.9 10.2 30 1
Amani Toomer 13 44 537 41.3 12.2 40 4
Derrick Ward 14 38 375 26.8 9.9 48 0

Returns

Kickoff Returns Punt Returns
G KR YDS AVG Lng TD PR Yds Avg Lng TD
Ahmad Bradshaw 13 32 678 21.2 35 0 0 0 0 0 0
Reuben Droughns 7 1 34 34.0 34 0 0 0 0 0 0
Domenik Hixon 14 3 180 60.0 83 0 24 242 10.1 50 0
Darcy Johnson 5 2 2 1.0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
R.W. McQuarters 4 1 18 18.0 18 0 8 65 8.1 15 0
Sinorice Moss 7 8 162 20.3 27 0 0 0 0 0 0
Derrick Ward 14 1 21 21.0 21 0 0 0 0 0 0
Corey Webster 14 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 3.0 3 0

Punting

Punting
G Punts Yds AVG Lng In20 TB
Jeff Feagles 14 55 2418 44.0 61 21 5

Kicking

Field Goals PAT
G 0-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+ FGM FGA PCT XPM XPA PCT pts
John Carney 13 0 - 0 14 - 14 11 - 12 4 - 5 0 - 0 29 31 93.5% 35 35 100.0% 122
Lawrence Tynes 1 1 - 1 0 - 0 0 - 0 0 - 0 0 - 0 1 1 100.0% 3 3 100.0% 6

Defense

Sacks Interceptions Tackles
G Sacks YdsL Int Yds IntTD Solo Ast Total
Jay Alford 10 2.5 17.5 0 0 0 9 5 14
Chase Blackburn 13 1.0 13 0 0 0 22 13 35
Kevin Boothe 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
James Butler 13 0 0 2 15 0 42 13 55
Danny Clark 14 0 0 0 0 0 35 23 58
Jeremy Clark 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2
Barry Cofield 11 3.0 14 0 0 0 30 9 39
Zak DeOssie 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
David Diehl 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Kevin Dockery 10 0 0 1 44 0 25 4 29
Jonathan Goff 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Madison Hedgecock 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Michael Johnson 14 0 0 2 18 0 35 24 59
Bryan Kehl 8 0 0 1 17 0 15 7 22
Mathias Kiwanuka 13 8.0 63 0 0 0 30 13 43
Sammy Knight 6 0 0 0 0 0 8 0 8
Sam Madison 4 0 0 1 21 0 3 1 4
Jerome McDougle 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1
Kareem McKenzie 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
R.W. McQuarters 4 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 4
Kenny Phillips 14 0 0 1 0 0 47 9 56
Antonio Pierce 13 1.5 9 0 0 0 63 20 83
Fred Robbins 12 5.5 34.5 0 0 0 25 5 30
Aaron Ross 13 0 0 3 58 0 46 6 52
Rich Seubert 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Chris Snee 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Terrell Thomas 10 0 0 1 13 0 22 3 25
Dave Tollefson 7 3.5 19.5 0 0 0 11 3 14
Justin Tuck 14 12.0 84.5 1 41 0 48 12 60
Corey Webster 14 1.0 3 3 65 0 41 2 43
Gerris Wilkinson 5 0 0 0 0 0 3 4 7
Renaldo Wynn 9 2.0 9 0 0 0 16 4 20

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