Giants vs. Panthers: What to watch for


After a disappointing start to the season, the New York Giants will look to right the ship on Sunday as they prepare to face off against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.  As always, the Empire Writes Back gets you up to speed on what to watch for out of the New York Giants as they desperately try to avoid an 0-3 start to the regular season.

David Wilson and the long lost Giants rushing attack

The most disappointing part of the Giants slow start has to be the glaring lack of a running game.  What many saw as a strength for Big Blue entering the year has quickly turned into a gaping hole, with the Giants struggling to gain any ground in the running game through the seasons first two weeks.

So will we finally see Tom Coughlin and the Giants coaching staff unleash David Wilson against the Carolina Panthers?  Well if you’re going by what the Giants are saying this week then the answer would be yes.

"“We’re definitely going to make an effort to run,” Gilbride said. “We’re definitely going to do whatever we can to be as balanced as we can, but most importantly of all, we’ll try to win the game.”"

David Wilson has carried the ball just fourteen times through the first two games. Gilbride, though, only cares how Wilson does when he has the ball.

"“The only thing I care about is: Are we moving the ball?” Gilbride said. “If he’s running and making yardage, then he’ll get it. If he’s not, then somebody else will get a chance to carry it or we’ll be throwing it.”"

Panthers Banged up secondary

Considering how depleted the Panthers secondary is right now, Eli Manning and the Giants should have no problem moving the ball through the air on Sunday. Starting free safety Charles Godfrey is out for the year with a torn Achilles tendon, which he suffered last week in Buffalo.  To make matters worse for Carolina, strong safety Quintin Mikell, cornerback Josh Thomas and backup cornerback Josh Norman are all questionable for Sunday’s game. I know the Giants say they want to run the ball more, but throwing against the Panthers on Sunday could be the way to pick up the season first win.

JPP…. where are you?

The Giants struggles on the defensive side of the football are well noted.  A huge part of that is the fact that Jason Pierre-Paul has not looked like the player he was before injuring his back last season.  Of course JPP should improve week to week, or at least that’s what the Giants are hoping for.  If Pierre-Paul cannot get back to form, and fast, the Giants defensive line is going to struggle to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks all season.

Offensive Line

The running game has not looked good, and Eli Manning, who is used to having good protection, has been chased around more than the Giants and their fan base are comfortable with.  Bottom line – this offensive line has real problems.

The offensive line has been in flux since injuries late in training camp forced the Giants to shuffle things around up front. Although head coach Tom Coughlin, expects to see some improvement up front this week.

"“I think I see us getting a little bit better each week,” Coughlin said. “Is that fast enough? Of course not, but I do see progress. The more the communication goes, the better off we are.“You say [it is a] veteran [line], but take a look at the snaps and the amount of practice time that David Baas has had, for example. That’s almost like moving a new guy in until he gets to where he feels good about it.”"

The O-line will be of even greater importance this week as the Giants face one of the best linebacking cores in the entire NFL, led by second year standout Luke Kuechly.  If the Giants offensive line cannot protect Manning, it’s going to be a long day for Big Blue in Carolina.