Giants (1-0) Panthers (0-1)
It came down to the last play of the game for
both teams in their season openers last week. The Carolina Panthers lost 26-24
when the Cleveland Browns were successful on a 58-yard field goal. The Giants
won against the Tennessee Titans 21-20, when the Titans missed on their 47-yard
field goal attempt.
Newton was the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers.
Near the end of the 2018 season, after a six game losing streak, it was revealed
that Newton was dealing with a nagging shoulder injury. Newton had surgery in
the offseason, but after two games in 2019, he suffered a slow healing foot injury,
and was placed on injured reserve. In 2020, Newton was released by the Panthers,
who then signed Teddy Bridgewater to be the starter.
In 2021, after winning
only five games for the second year in a row, the Panthers traded with the Jets
to get Sam Darnold, and Bridgewater was traded to the Broncos. Darnold started
12 games, before suffering a shoulder sprain. After a one year stint with New
England, Newton was available and brought back to the team to fill in. After another
poor season that ended with just 5 wins, the Panthers were looking around. Jimmy
Garoppolo and Baker Mayfield were on their radar, and Mayfield got the nod. During
preseason Mayfield was named as the starter. Darnold (drafted just two spots behind
Mayfield in the 2018 NFL Draft) suffered a high left ankle sprain in the preseason
final game, and was placed on IR.
Carolina Panthers Offense
Baker Mayfield's first game with the Panthers was a big one. Mayfield was up against
the Cleveland Browns, the very team that had just traded him away this offseason.
Mayfield's offense got off to a slow start, scoring only one touchdown in the
first three quarters, and the Panthers were down 20-7. They came from behind and
took a one point lead late in the fourth quarter with just over one minute left,
but in the end, Cleveland's 58-yard field goal stole the game.
16 of 27 for 235 yards with two passing touchdowns, and he scored one touchdown
on a 7 yard run. Running back Christian McCaffrey has sustained multiple injuries
over the last two seasons. Last week he had 10 carries for 33 yards with one touchdown,
and caught four passes for 24 yards. McCaffrey also recovered one of Mayfield's
four fumbles, and turned it into a 28 yard gain.
Mayfield will have to get
past the miscommunications with his center. He was lucky that none of the fumbles
were recovered by the other team. DJ Moore has had over 1100 yards receiving in
each of the past three seasons, despite the mixture of quarterbacks he's had to
adapt to during that time. Robbie Anderson was the second leading receiver to
Moore last year, and got off to a nice start last week, pulling in a 75 yard touchdown
Panthers allowed the second most rushing yards in all the NFL's Week 1 games,
and next up it's the Giants. It was the Titans who allowed the most rushing yards
in their game with the Giants. The Panthers big focus in practice this week was
on tackling. Against the Browns they missed 16 tackles, resulting in 190 yards
after contact. The Panthers defense had the seventh highest blitz rate last week,
and held Cleveland's quarterback Jacoby Brissett to only 147 passing yards, while
completing 18 of 34 passes and one touchdown.
Defensive lineman Brian Burns
had 9 sacks in each of his last two years, and though Burns had none last week,
he and Derrick Brown brought lots of quarterback pressure. This week, Giants rookie
Evan Neal will have to deal with Burns pass rushing skills. Giants rookie left
guard Joshua Ezeudu was in a similar position last week, up against Titans All-Pro
Jeffery Simmons, who got past him for a sack fumble on Daniael Jones.
Panthers secondary is strong, fielding former first-round picks cornerbacks Jaycee
Horn and C.J. Henderson, and Donte Jackson, a second-round pick with 12 interceptions
in his four year career. There's also versatile safety Jeremy Chinn, and Xavier
Woods. The Panthers had trouble defending runs towards the outside, which exposed
their poor tackling. The Giants will likely test that, along with using short
passes to the middle.
Panthers had some big plays that kept them in their game last week, and so did
the Giants. Big plays are exciting, and can lead to points as they did for the
Giants on three touchdown drives, which included a 68 yard run, 65 yard pass,
and a 33 yard run. However, nine drives produced no points. In fact, one of them
was an ill timed Daniel Jones interception, which came three plays after the hands-on
special teams unit gifted the ball to Jones at the Tennessee 11-yard line. It
was a costly interception, as a possible touchdown and extra point would have
tied the game for the Giants midway though the fourth quarter.
be making those kinds of mistakes at this stage of his career. After receiving
some 'inspiration' from head coach Brian Daboll on the sidelines, Jones next drive
secured that touchdown he missed out on. Daboll elected to go for a two-point
conversion instead of a tie, and Jones flip to Saquon Barkley put the Giants ahead.
Jones did finish the game missing on only four of his 21 passes, and as a team
for Week 1, the Giants had the best rushing attack in the league.
was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week, after leading all NFL players with
164 rushing yards, and 194 yards from scrimmage. As for the passing attack, the
Panthers may be just a little less confused than the fans as to who the Giants
receivers are. Sterling Shepard, who had that 'sterling' 65 yard catch last week,
is a given. Wan'Dale Robinson is out due to a knee injury. Richie James, who returns
punts, was also more active as a receiver last week catching 5 of 6 passes for
59 yards. Kadarius Toney, who barely played last week, is listed as questionable
with a hamstring issue.
Baker Mayfield catches a break as
the Giants will be without starting cornerback Aaron Robinson Sunday in the home
opener at MetLife Stadium. Robinson, a third round pick by the Giants in 2020,
gave up only 2 catches last week for 28 yards. Mayfield is working with a new
set of teammates, and there was some miscommunication last week with the offensive
line. Although he was sacked only one time, he was under a lot of pressure, and
had four passes batted down at the line of scrimmage.
The Giants didn't show
much of a pass rush against the Titans, and came up with just one sack last week
on Ryan Tannehill. They were missing Azeez Ojulari and Kayvon Thibodeaux. Mayfield
catches another break, as both these pass rushers are listed as doubtful for Sunday's
game. The Panthers did not lean hard on their top running back Christian McCaffrey
last week. Judging how effective the Giants run defense was against the Titans,
limiting Derrick Henry to just 82 yards on 21 carries, they may elect to use his
receiving skills more than they did last week.
Mayfield's receivers came up
big for him, here and there, for a number of plays including McCaffrey going 21
yards on one catch. The Giants are dealing with a so-so pass rush, and a weakened
secondary, and will have to be very careful this week with their coverage. On
the plus side, Wink Martindale was the Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator
the last four years. During that stretch, Martindale game planned for Mayfield
eight times, so he might have a few ideas to share with his players.
The Giants got off to a great start last week.
As underdogs to the Tennessee Titans, they were following along that path trailing
13-0 at halftime. The Giants were able to pull ahead, and they were able to leave
town with a win. The next three games for the Giants are all at home, starting
off with this one against the Carolina Panthers.
Baker Mayfield was up against
his old team last week, anxious to hand them a loss, but that didn't work out.
This week, former Giants' head coach Ben McAdoo is back at the Meadowlands as
the Panthers offensive coordinator. The Giants fans in the stadium will will looking
to see the Panthers continue their streak of coming up short against their former
NFC East Games
Sunday at 1:00pm Panthers (0-1 at Giants (1-0).
at 1:00pm Commanders (1-0) at Lions (0-1).
Sunday at 4:25pm Bengals (0-1) at
Monday at 8:30pm Vikings (1-0) at Eagles (1-0).
and Eagles are the NFC East teams favored to win in these games.
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Sept 26 Cowboys at Giants
2 Chicago at Giants