Wednesday, September 19, 2012

New York Giants vs. Carolina Panthers: Bold Predictions for Each Team - Bleacher Report

The New York Giants travel to Bank of America Stadium to take on the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night in a game that will set the tone for the NFL's Week 3 schedule.

The NFC is deep this year, so every game matters. Both teams are coming off hard-fought victories and would do well to escape this week with another win.

While a loss at this point certainly doesn't derail either team's chances for the postseason, jockeying for position could be a key storyline all year long.

New York is one of the more perplexing teams in the entire NFL. The Dallas Cowboys stole one in the Meadowlands in Week 1, and the Giants needed a 28-7 second-half run to knock off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home last week as well.

The Giants are known as slow starters. But to stay afloat in the NFC this season, they will have to find a more consistent brand of football.

The Panthers employ one of the more dynamic players in all of football. Second-year quarterback Cam Newton can do it all and is doing his best to dispel any notion of a sophomore slump.

This game will be fun to watch and is a great way to kick off this week's matchups.

Here is one bold prediction for each team in Thursday night's game:

Eli Manning Throws for 400 Yards in Back-to-Back Games for First Time in Career

Hi-res-152088282_crop_exactJeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Eli Manning is in the midst of his methodical ascent to being recognized as an elite quarterback in the NFL. Even after two championships and countless defining moments, many still question his ability to  stay atop the mountain with the likes of Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and even his brother, Peyton.

Last week's 510-yard and three-touchdown performance will be accompanied by the fact that Manning played a huge part in allowing the Giants to get down 27-13 early in the third quarter to the Buccaneers by also throwing three first-half interceptions.

While Carolina's defense doesn't necessarily give up too much in the passing game, a struggling Brees was able to throw for 325 yards last week.

Thursday night's game could become a shootout. And with the Giants hobbled in the running game, look for Manning to use his arm to keep his team close again.

Panthers Rush for Over 200 Yards and Three Touchdowns in Back-to-Back Weeks

The Panthers would not make the same mistake twice in their 35-27 victory over the Saints last week.

Carolina only ran the ball 13 times for 10 yards in Week 1's 16-10 loss to the Buccaneers, but Newton and Co. ran wild over New Orleans to the tune of 41 rushes for 219 yards and three touchdowns.

While those numbers can't be expected on a weekly basis, the Panthers may have found their recipe for success this season. And a middle-of-the-pack Giants run defense will pay the price this week.

Newton is a great runner in his own right when plays break down. But when teams also have to try to stop Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams, the advantage sways in Carolina's favor.

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