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Panthers vs Giants: Preview

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December 19, 2015, Troy, NY The Carolina Panthers at 13-0 put their undefeated record on the line versus the New York Giants in a road game. The Panthers head coach Ron Rivera has the no. 1 team in scoring and point differential. The offense will be without leading rusher RB Jonathan Stewart. The Panthers will go with a running back by committee of FB Mike Tolbert, RB Fozzy Whitaker, and rookie Cameron Artis-Payne. QB Cam Newton is having a season for the ages and is a MVP candidate. TE Greg Olsen, who is having an All-Pro season, is questionable with a knee injury sustained against the Falcons. WR Ted Ginn provides a deep threat, and rookie WR Devin Funchess provides a large target in the passing game. The offensive line play has been a strength and should be able to open holes versus a Giants defense that is ranked last in yards allowed per game.

The Panther’s defense is ranked third overall. They have accumulated 40 sacks and 21 interceptions. DT Kawan Short provides a push upfront and leads the team with 9 sacks. LBs Luke Keuchly and Thomas Davis, provide outstanding run support and pass coverage. The secondary is led by S Kurt Coleman with 7 INTs. Their depth at CB is being challenged by a season-ending injury to CB Bene’ Benwikere. CB Charles Tillman is practicing and could be available. The Panthers’ Cover 3 scheme will provide assistance to CB Josh Norman in his battle with WR Odell Beckham, Jr.

The NFL’s version of Lazarus is led by head coach Tom Coughlin and QB Eli Manning. The Giants are tied for first with the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins at 6-7 in the NFC East. Injuries and a lack of depth are troublesome for an offensive line facing a powerful Panthers defensive front. If the Panthers are able to pressure Eli, their ball hawking secondary could come up with turnovers due to his tendency to force throws into coverage.

Defensively, the Giants could be exploited due to a lack of pass rush and coverage problems. DE Jason Pierre-Paul returned from injury and must pressure Newton into harried throws. Rookie S Landon Collins is good in run support but struggles in pass coverage. Cam’s ability to extend plays could make for a long afternoon for Big Blue.

Per Scoresandodds.com, the Panthers opened at -4 road favorites and are currently at -4.5.

Kickoff is scheduled for Sunday at 1:00pm EST from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.

The game will be broadcast by Fox.

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