The second Thursday night game of the young NFL season is a very solid matchup between two very different teams. The New York Giants have a potent passing attack and pass rush, while the Carolina Panthers are a top tier rushing attack led by former number one overall pick Cam Newton at quarterback.
In fact, this matchup pits two former top picks at the quarterback position with Newton and Eli Manning battling it out, and it is really a huge opportunity for Newton and the Panthers to make a statement on national television.
The Panthers are 1-1 after a really disappointing opening day loss to the Buccaneers where it seemed like they couldn’t get anything going to save their lives offensively. They came out this past week and earned their first win of the season, a huge home victory over division rival New Orleans, whom they sent reeling into an 0-2 start.
Cam Newton has already established himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, though he is still going to be prone to mistakes every now and again. He is probably the best dual-threat quarterback in the NFL today, and that is going to be key as the Panthers try to hold off the Giants, who had a big comeback victory of their own last week.
Through two games and a 1-1 start, Giants quarterback Eli Manning has attempted 83 passes, including a whopping 51 last week against the Buccaneers. He is going to have to be on top of his game once again, because the top running back on New York’s roster Ahmad Bradshaw is out for tonight’s game.
Both Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks are in the team lead with 237 receiving yards, and both had huge games last week against the Bucs. If the Panthers’ defense has one thing to worry about, it would be facing arguably the top receiver duo in the NFL. Still, this is a realistic opportunity for the Panthers on their home field to take advantage and show the rest of the league that in Cam Newton’s second year in the league and Ron Rivera’s second year as head coach that this team is ready to make a playoff run.
Official Game Pick
I’m going with the Giants, but I think the Panthers have a good shot here. That crowd is going to be pumped up, and I think Cam Newton strives under pressure.
QB: Eli Manning, Cam Newton
You can’t go wrong with that position. The quarterback matchup in this game is as good as any this week.
You want to take a shot in the dark here? Pick up Andre Brown, the Giants RB on waivers tonight before the game. He is averaging over five yards per carry.
WR: Cruz, Nicks, Steve Smith
Those guys are the obvious ones, but if you want a hot riser in my opinion, it would be Brandon LaFell. He’s averaging over 17 yards per catch and could have a big night in prime time.
TE: Martellus Bennett, Greg Olsen
Not a bad TE matchup here.