Tomorrow night features a prime-time meeting between the visiting Carolina Panthers and the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants. Based on the results of Week 2, this game has all the makings of being an epic shootout.
For the Panthers, this will be their first Thursday night game since 2010 when they received a drubbing at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-3 at Heinz Field.
That being said, it should be noted that Carolina has not had much success in prime-time games, especially those played on Thursday. In their short history, Carolina has played in three games on Thursday night and lost all three of them, not a statistic to make a Panthers fan feel warm and fuzzy inside.
Overall, the Panthers sport an overall prime-time record of 6-8 with much of their success coming on Monday nights (5-3). Prime-time games are really no different than any other game that is played on Sunday, except there is a national television audience. Interestingly, enough, the Panthers and the Giants have met before at night with the Giants winning in overtime 34-28 back in 2008.
Of course, that team was led by Jake Delhomme and relied heavily on the running game. Today, it's led by Cam Newton and features an offense that is as dangerous in the air as it is on the ground.
There is no telling how the game will play out, but on the national stage, the Panthers need to have a great showing if they are to be taken seriously this season. Granted, the season is still young, but unlike other sports, every game in football counts.
It is doubtful Carolina pays attention to past records, and with a team full of young, hungry players, there is a different feeling in the locker room and on the field. This is a team with swagger and despite a disappointing season-opening loss, they proved they have the talent to compete with the best after defeating the New Orleans Saints this past Sunday.
A short week is never fun for any team, and the Panthers will have to keep an eye on key players like Steve Smith and Byron Bell, who are still nursing injuries from Week 2. There is also a chance that Carolina could be without Jonathan Stewart.
History be damned, the Carolina Panthers have a chance to make a name for themselves Thursday night. Not only do they have a talented roster, but they will also be playing at home against Eli Manning and Giants. Hopefully, Bank of America Stadium will make life and play-calling hard for New York.
After all, it's a new era in Carolina. The Panthers are focusing on establishing themselves as winners...even during prime-time games.