Joseph Person’s Three to watch

Giants at Panthers: Joseph Person’s three things to watch

jperson@charlotteobserver.comSeptember 21, 2013 

  • New York Giants at Carolina


    Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte


    1 p.m.


    Fox, WJZY, Ch. 46 (Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick, Laura Okmin)

Give the secondary some help

Eli Manning had his way vs. the Panthers last year when their secondary was healthy. The Panthers’ back end is beat up, and will be missing at least two starters and a key backup. If the Panthers are to have any chance, it’s imperative the front four gets pressure on Manning. The Giants’ offensive line has struggled with injuries to tackle David Diehl (out following thumb surgery) and center David Baas, who returned last week from a knee injury.

Check caution at the door

Ron Rivera said going for it on fourth-and-1 in the final two minutes at Buffalo last week would have been a desperation move. But that time has come for Rivera, who could be out if the Panthers start 0-3. It doesn’t mean Rivera should roll the dice on every fourth down. But it’s time for offensive coordinator Mike Shula to let Cam Newton get back to what he does best — threatening defenses as a runner and a passer.

Get the Giants in third-and-long

The Giants’ running game has been abysmal, with an NFL-low 73 yards in two games. New York brought back Brandon Jacobs last week, then ran for 23 yards on 19 carries — its lowest in nearly a quarter-century — in a loss to the Broncos. Manning likely will be throwing on a lot of first downs. But when the Giants run — and they might do more of it if there’s rain — Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis and the rest of the defense have to shut them down.

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