Eli Manning threw for the eighth most yards in NFL history against the Bucs, but 510 yards passing is simply unheard of these days.
That in itself sounds odd since this ha become a passing league where signal-callers throw for 350-plus yards passing every single week.
After the year’s we saw from Manning, Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees, it should not be a shock that so many teams are slinging it around 40 times every weekend.
This is a barbaric sport in which running backs only last on average three seasons before retirement, and both starting running backs may not even play on Thursday.
Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) of the Giants and Carolina’s Jonathan Stewart (ankle), will not be practicing this week and are both unlikely (game-time decisions at best) to play in this must-win September game.
So, in steps Andre Brown for the Giants whereas DeAngelo Williams will fill in admirably like he has in the past. Cam Newton was the superstar that filled in totaling for 324 yards of offense, after rushing for just 4 yards in the opener.
While Newton won’t have a sophomore slump, the NFC South is still a decent enough division to challenge Carolina and the NFC as we know is as good as we have seen it in over a decade.
The story of the team may be at wide receiver where Brandon LaFell is putting together respectable numbers alongside Steve Smith, who is still the most reliable threat in the vertical game. While Smith is a feisty competitor, LaFell is a lanky wide target that even Newton can hit with ease.
The defense has been led by defensive back Chris Gamble, defensive end Greg Hardy and linebackers Jon Beason and Luke Kuechly.
All are relentless defenders that were licking their chops against Drew Brees, and it was Hardy were nearly obliterated Brees and knee cap on a sack off the edge where the record-setting signal-caller refused to throw the ball away.
If Carolina can run the ball with any consistency, we should see them give the G-Men all they can handle and many are still questioning if the Panthers can move the ball effectively.
Josh Freeman made the Giants defense look bad at times because New York’s secondary is among the worst in the NFL (22nd). The Giants are 16th against the run, but going up against Cam Newton will certainly test the linebackers.
We know they have freaks off the edge (JPP, Osi), but this game will once again come down to the throwing ability of Eli Manning. Manning has a pair of receivers (Nick is questionable, and tight end Martellus Bennett) that can play average and at the same time look like All-Pro performers, and I would point towards the ladder in this close contest.
Note: Nicks is now OUT, thus pick changes
Network: NFL Network (Thursday)
Time: 8:35 p.m. Eastern
Experts Pick: Giants by 1
Danny V’s Pick: Panthers 24, Giants 21