© Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers Look to Keep Momentum Going

Sharon Thorsland
October 05, 2018 - 10:48 am

The NFL's top rushing attack meets one of its worst run defenses Sunday when the Panthers take on the Giants at Bank of America stadium. The Panthers average a league-best 166 yards per game on the ground, while the Giants are having a hard time stopping anyone - they're giving up 126 yards a contest, that's 29th in the league. That's one reason New York is just 1-3 on the season following a 33-18 loss to the Saints.

The Giants are having a hard time generating any offense - as one New York writer put it, they're stuck in quicksand. They're picking up just 345 yards a game, most of that coming through the air, and average just 18 points a game. They do have a two-time Super Bowl MVP in quarterback Eli Manning, but he's managed just four touchdowns and has been sacked 15 times behind a porous offensive line. Manning has a pair of outstanding weapons though in star receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. and Saquon Barkley, the rookie running back out of Penn State. OBJ is back from an ankle injury and leads the team with 31 catches for 330 yards. Barkley is a do it all back and a tremendous pass catcher as well. He's reached at least 100 yards from scrimmage in every game this season, just the fifth player in NFL history to do so. “He's a threat out of the backfield, he catches the ball well, runs very well,” said Panther coach Ron Rivera. “He has the potential to have a big play at any point. He's a tremendous young football player.”

The Giants have a new look defense this season featuring an aggressive 3-4 scheme. But getting to the quarterback has been a problem – the Giants are next to last in the NFL with just 5 sacks. They brought in edge rusher Kareem Martin to team with converted defensive end Olivier Vernon at outside linebacker. Veteran Damon Harrison anchors the front line, teaming with a pair of young guys in 2nd-year player Dalvin Tomlinson and B-J Hill, the rookie out of NC State. The Giants have a solid secondary, they rank 9th in the NFL allowing just 228 passing yards per game. Third-year cornerback Eli Apple teams with veteran Janoris Jenkins, and safety Landon Collins is one of the best in the game.

“They play hard, they run to the football, they tackle,” said Panther receiver Jarius Wright. “Going against those guys, it's going to be a test for us.”

The Panthers lead the overall series with the Giants 6-4, winning the most recent matchup in 2015. Remember that one? That's when former Panther Josh Norman started his feud with OBJ. We won't be seeing any of that this time around, but the Panthers are looking to keep the winning streak going against the Giants, and pick back up where they left off before the bye. “We have to keep the momentum going and continue to build,” said Panther receiver Torrey Smith. “We have to continue to do our part and take care of business.”

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