First things first. Can someone explain to me why we have a Thursday night game every week now? Back in my day, we didn't even have Thursday games, save for the season kickoff game (which I love) and Thanksgiving (which I love).
They started to implement these mid-week contests in recent years, but they were resigned to the latter half of the year. They would start no earlier than week 10.
Now they have moved the first game of the year to Wednesday (don't lie to me and say that it didn't feel weird, because you know it did). And they have inserted a Thursday night game into every week of the season, until we get to week 16.
There is no one who loves football more than I do. And since it is impossible to watch all the games on Sunday, throwing one to Thursday night necessarily means more football in my life. However, I am not so sure that it is best for the game.
This isn't baseball. We shouldn't have a staggered schedule. In the NFL, you only get to play sixteen games, and they should be as evenly spaced as possible. The season kickoff game is not a major issue because you do not have a regular season game preceding it. And Thanksgiving, well, that's tradition. But you shouldn't have a game four days after your previous one, and that is going to happen to two teams every week.
And this week in particular, the Giants are getting screwed big-time.
Not only do they have to go on the road following a crazy, and surely exhausting game against Tampa Bay. They also have numerous injuries with no time to attempt recovery. Hakeem Nicks went from 10 catches, 199 yards, and a touchdown on Sunday to being ruled completely out for their game against Carolina by Tuesday afternoon. He didn't even make the trip with the team.
Ahmad Bradshaw, whose inactive status is less surprising, seeing as he had to leave their week two game with a neck injury, also had no chance to rest. He was ruled out almost immediately, leaving the Giants down two major offensive players.
It seems ridiculous to me that the Giants are still favored. Their defense was absolutely horrendous against an unproven Buccaneers offense, only to be saved by Eli Manning's 510-yard heroics. That will not happen again, especially without Nicks.
I would never imply that an NFL team would throw a game, but I won't be shocked if New York comes out with a much safer and conservative game plan, and gets behind early. They won't put in the subs, but if they get left in the dust early by Cam Newton, they may just cut their losses and let this one go. It is not worth more injuries, as they are already in an extremely unstable position in that area.
Pick the Panthers at whatever line they might be, (+1.5), (+2.5), whatever. They will win this game. And Giants fans can blame the NFL schedule makers. It really does seem a little unfair.