The New York Giants are back on track after a big second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But the Giants now have to deal with a talented Carolina Panthers team on the road on extremely short rest.
Making matters worse, the G-Men flew to Charlotte without Hakeem Nicks, Domenik Hixon, David Diehl and Ahmad Bradshaw—four key offensive players.
With that in mind, here's how the Giants should attack the Panthers on Thursday Night Football.
Give Them a Steady Dose of Martellus Bennett
For starters, they really don't have a choice. It's not as though I don't have faith in Rueben Randle and Ramses Barden, but the Giants are shorthanded in the receiving corps, and the Panthers had some trouble with Jimmy Graham in Week 2.
Bennett is no Graham, but he's shown glimpses early on. If he can draw some matchups with vulnerable pass defenders such as Charles Godfrey and Jon Beason, he could be a difference-maker against Carolina.
Introduce Them to David Wilson and Andre Brown
The Giants can't shy away from the run just because Bradshaw isn't healthy. If anything, they might be able to use Wilson and Brown to their advantage. There's not a lot of tape on either back, so either could have a breakout game against a run defense that was hammered hard against the New Orleans Saints in Week 2.
Brown averaged 5.5 yards per carry against the Buccaneers, and Wilson is a home-run threat who could emerge at any time.
It'll be tempting for Eli Manning to take a lot of shots against a pass defense that surrendered 8.06 yards per attempt last season, but Sean McDermott's defense can make plays, and New York's going to be relying on some inexperienced receivers.
Blitz More Than Usual
Cam Newton's been relatively good when facing pressure this season, but Tampa and New Orleans didn't exactly bring heat in those first two games. I know the Giants don't usually send a lot of extra men, but with Justin Tuck and Osi Umemyiora struggling and Chris Canty's absence hurting the front four, it might be good to send Chase Blackburn and Mathias Kiwanuka a little more often than usual.
Prince Amukamara might make his return, but there's no telling how he'll perform in his debut. Throw in that Corey Webster is really struggling and Justin Tryon's been terrible in relief, and you can see that this D needs to compensate for a weak secondary with as much pressure as possible.
Jonathan Stewart would ordinarily take advantage of overloads by flexing his receiving skills underneath, but he might not even play due to a toe injury.
That gives Big Blue another reason to get aggressive.