QB Eli Manning and OC Kevin Gilbride reading this article.
The New York Giants have dug themselves an early hole with two losses in the first two weeks of the 2013 season. In order to right the ship before it completely capsizes, "Big Blue" will need to put forth a stellar effort against the Carolina Panthers in Week 3.
The Panthers, who are also 0-2, are just as desperate as the Giants. However, they are not as talented. New York can take the reins early in this one by flexing its offensive muscles, which have yielded upward of 800 passing yards in just two showings.
If the Giants are able to seize a lead, they must hold on for dear life. Don't count on that happening if they continue to crank out turnovers at such a snappy rate, though. New York has given away possession 10 times in its previous two losses combined.
Read on for my offensive statistic predictions for the Giants in Week 3.
Five touchdowns and seven interceptions through the first two games?
Forget the 812 yards he has thrown for so far, many have simply chalked up the last two weeks to "Eli being Eli."
But is he himself? Who is Eli Manning anyway? Stop me if this is sounding a little too much like a lecture on Descartes.
Manning will reestablish his groove against the Panthers in Week 3. Carolina has allowed opposing quarterbacks (Seattle's Russell Wilson and Buffalo's EJ Manuel) to complete passes at a 72.2 percent rate. Passers have sliced through the Panthers' secondary for an average of 8.6 yards per pass and 293.5 yards per game.
For Manning, the focus will be on keeping the ball out of harm's way, which shouldn't be too hard against an extra-thin defensive backfield now that starting Carolina safety Charles Godfrey is out for the season with a torn Achilles' tendon. Manning should be able to impose his will upon a pathetic Panther pass defense.
Expect less yardage, higher efficiency from Manning in Week 3.
And don't think he escapes without a minor miscue at least—old habits die hard.
Stat line: 21-of-32 (65.6%), 310 yards, 9.7 YPA, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception
The third time's the charm, right?
The Giants' ground game better hope so; these last two weeks have been atrocious. First, it was the escape from Fumbleville in Dallas. Then, it was a lesson in ineptitude at home against the Denver Broncos. Will Act III be titled, "The Resurrection of David Wilson?"
Not exactly. But it will be a significant improvement.
Carolina's no slouch against the run. The Panthers possess a powerful front four and only the reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year in Luke Kuechly at middle linebacker. They have only allowed an average of 3.7 yards per carry, surrendering just two runs of 20 yards or more and a single touchdown on the ground.
Wilson's workload should more than double, though, as New York's offense vows to feature a more balanced attack in Week 3. More carries means more chances to break a long one. He'll struggle to find space behind a suspect O-line, but, when he does, expect him to be gone in a flash. More than half of his total yardage will come from a single run.
Brandon Jacobs will resume the goal-line and short-yardage duties he assumed last week, and Da'Rel Scott will continue to get his reps on third down. Neither player will be a significant contributor on the ground, unless, of course, you count the two-yard touchdown plunge Jacobs is sure to add.
David Wilson: 17 carries, 85 yards, 5 YPC, 1 touchdown
Brandon Jacobs: 5 carries, 14 yards, 2.8 YPC, 1 touchdown
Da'Rel Scott: 4 carries, 10 yards, 2.5 YPC
Total: 26 carries, 109 yards, 4.2 YPC, 2 touchdowns
Look at that finger. Gross!
A dislocated finger suffered in last week's loss will have no bearing on Hakeem Nicks' receiving output in Week 3. The Giants' No. 1 wideout should have a monster game simply because the Panthers don't have anybody who can cover him.
Starting cornerback Josh Thomas—who gave up the game-winning touchdown in Carolina's 12-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks—was recently concussed, and former seventh-round draft pick Captain Munnerlyn has a slim chance of sticking with "Hakeem The Dream."
Victor Cruz will lead the team in receptions for the second straight week, but the slot receiver's yardage will fall short of the century mark for the first time all season. He'll be used primarily to move the chains, as Manning is sure to find his buddy across the middle on several drive-extending third downs.
After slumping quite a bit in Week 2, Rueben Randle's targets will dwindle slightly against the Panthers. He will make the most of what he is given, but that won't be very much, since Nicks and Cruz should have no problem getting open.
The same cannot be said for Brandon Myers. The tight end will struggle for the first time all season after taking a physical beating against the Broncos. A touchdown catch will soothe some of that soreness.
Jerrel Jernigan will have a couple passes thrown his way. I don't know why, but he will. Let's say Jernigan catches one (where is Louis Murphy?).
Rounding out the receivers will be running back Da'Rel Scott and tight end Larry Donnell. The reserves will each catch a pass, as both have warranted an extra look in Manning's crowded passing arsenal.
Hakeem Nicks: 8 targets, 5 receptions, 120 yards, 24 YPC, 1 touchdown
Victor Cruz: 9 targets, 6 receptions, 91 yards, 15.2 YPC
Rueben Randle: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 39 yards, 13 YPC
Brandon Myers: 7 targets, 4 receptions, 36 yards, 9 YPC, 1 touchdown
Jerrel Jernigan: 2 targets, 1 reception, 4 yards, 4YPC
Da'Rel Scott: 1 target, 1 reception, 8 yards, 8 YPC
Larry Donnell: 1 target, 1 reception, 12 yards, 12 YPC