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Carolina Panthers Week 3: 5 Keys to Victory over New York Giants on Thursday

Alex PalmaContributor IIOctober 19, 2016

Carolina Panthers Week 3: 5 Keys to Victory over New York Giants on Thursday

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    The last time the Carolina Panthers and New York Giants met, the 2010 regular-season opener, Matt Moore was the starting quarterback. A few things have changed since then.

    Since that game, the Panthers have greatly improved thanks to Cam Newton and offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski.

    Both teams are coming off solid wins against good teams and are looking to keep the momentum going in this primetime matchup.

    Here are the five keys that will lead the Carolina Panthers to victory over the New York Giants in the Thursday Night Football game.

Get the Ball out Quickly

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    In Week 1, Tony Romo was able to reduce the impact of the dominant Giants defensive line by running quick pass plays, which Cam Newton is very capable of doing.

    The Panthers might not have enough time to run as many read-option plays as they attempted against the Saints, as Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck will be bearing down quickly.

    Ideally, they will need to run more slants and quick screen routes, and always keep the run threat alive so the defensive line can't pin their ears back and get to the quarterback.

Win the Turnover Battle

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    In Week 2, against the New Orleans Saints, Charles Godfrey picked off Drew Brees on a check-down pass to tight end David Thomas. Once this happened, the entire tone of the game changed for the Panthers. 

    The Panthers will have to make ball-hawking plays like this, which they were lacking for most of 2011. With these two high-powered offenses, whoever wins the turnover battle will likely win the game.

Limit Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz

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    Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz are coming off games where they combined for nearly 400 yards receiving against the Buccaneers.

    With Ahmad Bradshaw a question mark for Thursday (via ESPN), rookie cornerback Josh Norman could get tested all night matched up on either Cruz or Nicks. 

Pressure Eli Manning

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    Manning needed every one of his 510 passing yards to defeat the Buccaneers this past Sunday, throwing three interceptions along the way.

    Pressuring Manning is the only way to minimize his chances at making big plays, so Charles Johnson will have to earn his big-money contract and get to the quarterback and minimize the big plays that Tampa couldn't.

Punish the New York Giants' Weak Defensive Backs

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    Cam Newton had a solid game passing in Week 2 against the Saints, throwing for 253 yards and no interceptions. So far this season, the New York Giants defensive backs have been one of the worst groups in the league at stopping the pass, currently ranked 29th.

    Prince Amukamara will likely be a game-time decision after returning to practice this week (via the New York Post).

    If the Giants attempt to have Corey Webster cover Steve Smith, we can expect Cam Newton to target him heavily and for Smith have a huge game.

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