The New York Giants are in desperate need of a win as they head south this week to face the Carolina Panthers. Game time is scheduled for 1:00 EST on Sunday, October 7, at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. Fans in certain markets will be able to watch the game on Fox.
The Panthers are currently listed as 7-point favorites at home. That line has increased after Carolina began the week as a 6-point favorite. The over/under for the game is set at 44 points. Click here to see a full list of this week’s NFL betting lines.
After a 1-3 start to their season, the Giants are dangerously close to seeing things spiral out of control. There was hope a couple weeks ago when the Giants went on the road and knocked off the Texans. However, much of that hope was lost last week when they fell to the Saints 33-18 at home.
Before then, the Giants had at least lost close games, giving them reasons to stay optimistic. But after a two-touchdown loss at home, doubt and frustration are beginning to set in for the G-Men. It certainly doesn’t help that their October schedule is stacked with playoff teams from last year, starting with this week’s game against the Panthers.
The Panthers, meanwhile, are 2-1 and coming off a bye week. Of course, Carolina wasn’t exactly in need of a bye this early in the season. The last time the Panthers were on the field, they knocked off Andy Dalton and the Bengals. They can only hope that the week off hasn’t stolen the momentum and positivity that came out of that win.
So far this season, the Panthers have had success by running the ball effectively and playing good defense. That’s typically a good combination, but not necessarily one the Panthers can count on to take them to the top of the NFC, especially in a division that appears loaded with playoff-quality teams.
It’s tough to swallow a full touchdown in an NFL game. However, I find it even more difficult to give the Giants the benefit of the doubt at this points. Despite having elite talent at certain positions, New York’s flaws always seem to get in the way. Given Carolina’s last game and their extra time off, I’ll lean toward the Panthers to cover the seven points at home.
The problem with the Giants is they simply can’t get out of their own way. They have more than enough playmakers to be one of the better offensive teams in football, but a terrible offensive line more than negates that. The Giants have been unable to generate a consistent running game despite using a top-5 pick on running back Saquon Barkley. The offensive line has also allowed Eli Manning to be sacked 15 times in four games. Even against a lackluster New Orleans pass rush last week, they gave up three sacks.
As a result, the Giants have only been able to top 20 points once in four games this season. It’s hard to see that changing against Carolina’s defense. Even with two of their three games coming against high-powered offenses like the Falcons and Bengals, the Panthers are only giving up 20 points per game.
The Carolina defensive line remains a strength, so I’m expecting them to get plenty of pressure on Manning this week and prevent the Giants from hitting on big plays. After seeing the Giants struggle to get much going against the Saints, I don’t have high hopes for their offense when facing the Panthers.
To be fair, the Giants have been solid defensively this year, especially considering the lack of support they’ve received from their offense. They even managed to hold the Saints to four field goals in the 1st half of last week’s game. The Giants have good talent in their secondary, which is why they’ve been able to avoid getting blown out in their losses this season. In fact, an optimist could argue that the Giants are good enough on that side of the ball to keep them within striking distance against Carolina.
The bad news is a good pass defense may not matter much when playing the Panthers. The Carolina passing game has been lacking early in the year, especially with Greg Olsen out with an injury. However, the Carolina rushing attack exploded last time out against the Bengals and may very well do the same this week against the Giants. New York’s defense is giving up 126 rushing yards per game and 4.8 yards per carry. After the way Alvin Kamara exploded against them in the 2nd half last week, the Panthers should feel good about Christian McCaffrey having similar success this week.
To be honest, I’m not yet sold on the Panthers after only three games. However, I know who the Giants are, and it’s not anything good. With their offensive line holding them back, the Giants will once again struggle to generate much against a stout Carolina defense. That should enable the Panthers to eventually pull away and cover the 7-point spread.