The New York Giants face a tall task against the Carolina Panthers, but if they can execute in a few key areas, they can come away with a win.
The New York Giants (1-3) are in desperate need of a win as they take on the (2-1) Carolina Panthers Sunday at 1 p.m ET.
There are several things to watch for on Sunday as the Giants hope to finally get their offense on track. Big Blue’s offense has been held to under 20 points in three out of their four games this season.
Here are the three things to watch for in the Giants game against the Panthers.
1. Will Saquon Barkley finally get 20 carries in a game?
Saquon Barkley has been one of the few bright spots in the Giants 1-3 start. He has at least 100 all-purpose yards in all four of the Giants games and is second on the team in receptions with 27. But surprisingly he has yet to have 20 carries in a game this year. Last week against the Saints he had a season-low 10 carries.
If the Panthers defense is vulnerable in one area, it’s their run defense as they’re giving up 110 yards a game on the ground. The Giants offense relies heavily on their passing game, but for this week they need to focus more on their ground game and make sure Barkley has at least 20 carries.
2. Is Eli Manning going to challenge the Panthers defense deep?
Eli Manning came under fire immediately following the Giants loss to the Saints for not testing the weak Saints secondary deep down the field. Even Odell Beckham Jr. voiced his frustrations with the Giants offense following the game.
Manning will have one of his weapons back this week as Cody Latimer, who missed last week’s game due to a knee injury, is expected to start. Latimer has the longest passing play of the season for the G-Men when he hauled 37-yard yard pass against the Cowboys.
Will Manning be bold and challenge the Panthers secondary deep with Beckham and Latimer, or will he remain conservative and settle for check downs.
3. Will Josh Mauro give the defense a spark?
Last week, the Giants defense struggled trying to stop Alvin Kamara as he scored three second half touchdowns. This week, they face a running back with a similar skillset as Kamara in Christian McCaffrey. Not to mention, Cam Newton is one of the most mobile quarterbacks in the league.
The Giants will once again be without Olivier Vernon this week, but Josh Mauro will make his debut with the team after serving a four-game suspension. Mauro is very familiar with defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s scheme during his four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals.
The Giants have gotten killed on zone reads all year, and now the face arguably the best quarterback at running the zone read.
James Bettcher talking today on defending the Panthers offense. pic.twitter.com/chbtBLFIgu
— Jason Leach (@JasonKLeach) October 5, 2018
Earlier this week, Bettcher spoke about Newton and the problems he presents with his running ability.
“One thing, he is a very physical, big guy who at times in the zone option scheme, will take the matchup. You will be in the right spot, you’ll have the guy that’s supposed to be on the quarterback on the quarterback, and he will take the matchup at times whether that’s just pulling the ball, or maybe that’s giving the ball and taking the matchup. He’s really smart with those kinds of things and they do a nice job putting him in some of those kinds of situations.”
The Giants are hoping the 6-foot-6 290-pound Mauro will improve their fortunes in defending the zone reads.That will be key to shutting down this potent Carolina offense.