Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thursday Night Pick

One of the aspects you will see this season now that Thursday Night Football is season-long is that you will see teams sit players out who might play if it was a Sunday/Monday game. Tonight is a great example for the New York Giants, who are without RB Ahmad Bradshaw, OL David Diehl and WR Hakeem Nicks. The loss of Bradshaw and Diehl hurt the Giants, but Andre Brown proved a capable backup and the offensive line play isn't to be overlooked as a reason he played so well. Losing Nicks, on the other hand, makes Eli Manning's assignment a much more difficult one. Lucky for him, the Carolina Panthers defense hasn't made a marked improvement from last year's effort (though there is some improvement).

What is of more concern for the Giants tonight is to slow down Cam Newton and the Panthers offense. We saw Josh Freeman at times completely torch the Giants secondary and the Giants pass rush has been hot and cold all season long. If the Giants are to contain them, their improved linebackers are going to have to support the pass rushers, particular when Carolina is running the ball (and they will do that a lot, I'm sure). It still won't matter if the secondary is still an abomination that it has been the first two games.

All in all, this looks like a tough one for the Giants. Losing Nicks is a killer and though a short week means the Panthers can't really study Andre Brown, they at least are aware of his presence on the field now. I say short week goes to the home team and the Panthers will win.

Panthers (-3) over the Giants: 31-27

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