NFL Soup|Tuesday, May 21, 2013

New York Giants vs. Carolina Panthers Week 4 Game Preview 

The New York Giants and Carolina Panthers will face off Sunday in a MUST WIN game for two 0-2 teams. Both teams are desperate for a win after some tough losses by both sides.

The Panthers had a complete meltdown defensively last week against the Bills and the Giants didn’t just shoot themselves in the foot but rather every extremity; basically giving the Cowboys an opening night win.

If either team has any hopes of the playoffs a win is vital in this game. Here’s what to watch for in this matchup on Sunday:

1. Cam Newton Rushing

This is, in my opinion, the make or break for the Giants in this game. If they can hold Newton to around 50 yards rushing then I think they can easily win the game. But we all know containing Newton is difficult.

The problem is the Giants’ inexperience and lack of depth at linebacker. Can the linebackers of Paysinger, Herzlich and Rivers do enough and keep the defense in the right spots to contain Newton? I don’t know. If the Giants can limit his rushing production and make Cam throw more than he wants to, forcing him into mistakes, then they should win. If not, advantage Carolina.

2. Giants’ Turnovers

The Giants are a league worst -8 in the giveaway/takeaway department. You can put the turnovers on QB Eli Manning and RB David Wilson. If those two can take care of the ball the Giants should be fine.

Wilson ran against Denver with extreme attention to ball security. Manning has had some miscommunication with his receivers on routes; giving way to some needless picks. The Giants are the better team and if they take care of the ball then that gives them a huge chance to come out of this game with a win, as well as, putting up some big numbers.

3. Steve Smith vs. Giants’ Secondary

Steve Smith may be getting up there in age but his game is still on a high level as well; when Newton can find him. Steve Smith can defeinitely get open against the Giants’ secondary which is why you’ll probably see CB Prince Amukamara lined up on him all day with safety help over the top.

Even so, the Giants are shaky in the defensive backfield and can still get burned by Smith. The other half to this is that Newton will have to find Smith. Newton can be forced into bad decisions and mistakes. If they can take away first look options to Smith and TE Olsen then the Giants should dominate. The Giants can’t give up the big play or Carolina will be right in this game.

4. Giants’ WR’s

Carolina is giving up 294 passing yards per game. The Giants are a league best 391 yards per game. Now a lot of the Giants’ numbers are inflated since they had to air it out against Dallas but they do have two big-play receivers in Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz.

Personally, I think this will be a field day for Eli Manning and his receivers. Carolina just doesn’t have the personnel to cover the Giants’ offensive weapons. Eli should be able to pretty much pick apart the Carolina defense with some short passes and then hit ‘em over the top on a few big plays. Look for the Giants to put up some huge numbers.

5. Let David Wilson Run Free

I get Wilson lost two fumbles in week one and ran like he was holding a newborn baby in week two, but the Giants needs to find a nice middle ground there. He needs more touches all-around, and he also needs a firm backing so he knows it’s not the end of the world if he coughs up a ball. If Eli Manning can throw seven picks in two games, Wilson can get a break after two fumbles two weeks ago. He’s simply too talented to not have heavily involved in the offense. If New York sees that and let’s him do his thing, it could be arguably the biggest key to a must-win week three clash with Carolina.

About the author: Terrence Kirker

A new fantasy football contributor to NFLSoup, Terrence Kirker is an avid NFL fan and diehard Giants fan. He’s been involved in fantasy football for the past ten years, with the last four being the mostly competitive for cash prizes, equating to three championships and one third place finish. Follow him on Twitter @terrencekirker

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