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Giants vs. Panthers: Can Giants' offense keep rolling?

Can the Giants mount an offense against the Panther's suffocating defense?

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants put forth their best offensive performance of the season this past week against the Miami Dolphins. Really, it was their best, most complete, performance in years.

But that was against the Dolphins.

This week they go up against the Carolina Panthers' defense. And to put it bluntly, the Panthers are a completely different animal than the Dolphins.

On Monday night, the Giants rode a deadly efficient Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr. doing OBJ things, and the most consistent run game since the end of 2014 to a much needed win. With an injury depleted defense, the Giants will need that offense to step up again, but this time against one of the top units in the NFL.

Stats At A Glance

Rushing Yards Passing Yards Total Yards Points
New York Giants Offense 88.4 (29th) 272.0 (6th) 360.4 (12th) 26.0 (7th)
Carolina Panthers Defense 84.6 (4th) 223.2 (5th) 307.8 (3rd) 18.7 (5th)

Offensive Line

The Giants' offensive line may once again find itself in flux. Ereck Flowers missed practice Wednesday after his injured ankle gave out on him at the end of Monday's game. If that happens again, it will likely force Justin Pugh back out to left tackle, and Dallas Reynolds to left guard.

The Giants are in a bad situation as it stands. Flowers was clearly hobbled by his injured ankle, and had problems with Olivier Vernon. Backups John Jerry and Marshall Newhouse have well documented deficiencies.

However, losing Flowers would make a bad situation worse.

While the Panthers' defensive ends are improving from their early-season sluggishness, the strength of their defense is up the middle, starting with defensive tackles Kawaan Short and Star Lotulelei. With Weston Richburg dealing with his own ankle injury and Geoff Schwartz out for the season, the Giants' once-formidable guard, center, guard trio has been significantly weakened. Being forced to move Pugh to tackle would only weaken it further.

Without knowing whether or not Flowers will be able to play, it is difficult to key on any individual match-up, but the interior of the trenches could decide this game. As a classic "Pocket Passer" Eli Manning is profoundly effected by pressure up the middle than by pressure off the edge.


While this game may be won or lost up front, the mental chess match between Eli Manning and Luke Kuechly. Manning has been tremendously active at the line of scrimmage, altering the play on nearly every snap. For the most part he has done a good job of diagnosing the opposing defense and getting the Giants in the "right" play for the situation.

Eli was at his absolute best at the line against the Dolphins. If the Giants want a chance of continuing to keep their season alive, and have a winning record, they will need a similar performance this week. What's more, they will need him to make fast, accurate decisions when spreading the ball around and not just rely on one receiver.

Skill Position Players

Before the season started, one of the most anticipated match-ups was between Odell Beckham Jr. and Darrelle Revis. That match-up never materialized, as Revis missed that game with a concussion. However, we might just be in for something better.

That is the match-up between Josh Norman and Beckham.

Beckham and Manning have their work cut out for them against the Panthers' shutdown corner:

Beckham has faced truly elite coverage before, most notably Richard Sherman in Seattle. However, at 6-0, 200 pounds, Norman is similarly sized to Beckham, taking away the incredible advantage in agility that Beckham has over corners like Sherman. Norman is also an impressive technician who uses his mind and quick feet to always be in position to attack the pass.

This stands to be Beckham's greatest test to date, a test he will need to pass. But he can also get some help from Manning and Ben McAdoo. Norman has mostly been a boundary corner, and typically hasn't followed receivers inside in the formation. Beckham, on the other hand, is routinely moved all around the formation, including reps in the slot and out of the backfield. The Giants will need to use every trick and look in their arsenal to give their premier play-maker every advantage he can get.

They will also need their other options to step up as well. Whether it is Rueben Randle, Dwayne Harris, or Hakeem Nicks, Eli will have to look to his secondary receivers to win their match-ups.

Carolina also boasts the best linebacking corps in the NFL. Kuechley isn't just a terrific and instinctive football mind, but a tremendous athlete as well. Between him and Davis, the Giants shouldn't expect much production from Will Tye, Jerome Cunningham, or Shane Vereen in the passing game. However, if they decide to use their linebackers to blitz, Eli will likely look to one of these players for the quick check-down.

The Giants will try to run the ball, but personally I wouldn't expect much. They can only run effectively between the tackles, and that is right into the absolute strength of the Carolina defense.

Final Thoughts

The Giants have their work more than cut out for them this week.

They can take some solace in the fact that Drew Brees and the Saints scored 38 points against the Carolina defense. Brandin Cooks snagged six receptions for 104 yards and a touchdown, while Brandon Coleman notched four catches for 85 yards and a touchdown. The Giants would likely be well-served to study that game and look for whatever they can add to their own game plan.

If the Giants can keep their injury-riddled offensive line from dooming them before they start, this should be a match-up of strength against strength.