We are almost to Sunday, which means it’s time for this week’s Keep Pounding Picks. Last week everyone on our staff had the Panthers winning over Buffalo. Most of us didn’t see it being much of a contest, and how silly of us to think that these Panthers would be involved in anything but a game that went down to the wire.
It’s going to be a long two weeks if the Panthers lose to the Giants on Sunday with the bye week right around the corner. For the sake of the fan base I really hope the team comes to play tomorrow and delivers a home win. Let’s see if our staff thinks that will be the case.
Panthers 24, Giants 20
If they lose on Sunday I am never picking the Panthers again. Nah, I’m kidding, but the Panthers need this one. Our defense is better than their offense which lacks a defined running game and weapons on the pass outside Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. Our offense is finding their footing and establishing the run early will be the key to winning this one. New York’s front is good but lacks secondary depth, similar to us. This one will be tough, but on paper the Panthers win, and I think that translates to the field in this one.
Pick to Click: Luke Kuechly and Drayton Florence. Look for takeaways and big stops. Eli Manning threw four interceptions last week and our front seven is a tad bit better than Denver’s. Kuechly and Florence basically win this one for us, putting our offense in good position after some big takeaways.
Giants 27, Panthers 20
The Panthers are once again starting slowly, but the Giants are in the same boat at 0-2. Giants head coach Tom Coughlin’s brother passed away a few days ago, so the Giants are going to really be “up” for this one. I hate to even bring this up, but Kansas City had only two wins last season and one of those was against Carolina after the extremely sad story of Jovan Belcher took place. The Chiefs played over their heads out of emotion, and while the Giants’ situation isn’t exactly the same thing, they will be playing wtih an extra edge to them. The blown coverage on the final play of last week’s loss against the Buffalo Bills makes me wonder about how prepared the Panthers are going to be.
Pick to Click: Eli Manning. With the Panthers’ secondary being thin with injuries and facing the best wide receiver group of the season by far, MonStrz Inc. better be in the backfield when the ball arrives or Eli should have several long gains through the air. Cruz, Nicks and even Rueben Randle have a great opportunity to post big numbers in this one.
Panthers 17, Giants 13
Pick to Click: Cam Newton finally gets it goether and throws for 300 yards and two touchdowns.
Giants 31, Panthers 17
Today’s NFL comes down to offense, unless in the rare case when a team has an exceptional defense (Seattle, San Francicso). The Panthers do not have an exceptional defense. They have an above average front seven, but it is not as dominant as it is made out to be, and a putrid secondary. Jon Beason is a liability on the field and was routinely picked on last week, even Kuechly had his struggles, especially on the final drive against Buffalo. Greg Hardy hasn’t made an impact through two games in a contract year and Charles Johnson was quiet last Sunday. It’s going to take a special performance from the front seven to keep New York from moving the ball at will. We saw it last year when Manning and the Giants trounced the Panthers at home on national television, and that was without Nicks or Cruz. Throw those two into the equation this year against an injury depleted secondary and I don’t know how in the world this defense is going to stop the Giants.
I’d give Carolina a great shot at winning if the offense had shown us something the first two weeks, but they haven’t. As much as I’d love to see the Panthers win this game I just can’t see the Giants falling to 0-3. Instead it will be the Panthers at 0-3 heading into their bye week with plenty of questions to answer. One of which will be whether or not Ron Rivera is on the sidelines for Week 5.