NFL Picks: Giants at Panthers Odds and Week 3 Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 9/19/2013
There are two Desperation Bowls in Week 3 involving 0-2 teams: Cleveland at Minnesota and the New York Giants at Carolina. Only 22 teams since 1990, when the playoff expanded, have made the postseason (around 11.5 percent), but three won the Super Bowl, including the 2007 Giants. So it's their game against the Panthers I will preview. No team that started 0-3 has made the playoffs since 1998.
I was tempted to look at Browns-Vikings, but neither was expected to be a playoff team this year and neither will be. The Browns might now battle the Jaguars for the worst record in the NFL after shockingly trading 2012 No. 3 overall pick Trent Richardson to Indianapolis on Wednesday for the Colts' 2014 first-round pick. Browns officials say they aren't punting the season, but what other explanation is there? Getting what will probably be a mid-20s pick, even in a deep draft, doesn't seem like great value for Richardson (shoot, did Cleveland even call the Giants? Rams? Jets? All have running back needs and figure to finish with worse records than Indy). By the way: Cleveland hosts Jacksonville on Dec. 1 in the Teddy Bridgewater Bowl.
Giants at Panthers Betting Story Lines
Why are the Giants 0-2 despite the fact that Eli Manning is second in the NFL with 812 passing yards and also has five TD passes? Well, he's the runaway NFL leader with seven picks (next-closest is four; brother Peyton has none), and the Giants lead the NFL with 10 giveaways. He needs to simply keep throwing to receiver Victor Cruz and tight end Brandon Myers. He's completing 68.4 percent of his passes to those two with four TDs. To players not named Cruz, Myers or Hakeem Nicks, Manning is completing just 55.5 percent with one TD and six picks.
Frankly, Manning has to throw all day because New York has rushed for a league-low 73 yards on 33 carries (just 2.2 yards per carry). David Wilson remains in the doghouse because of his fumble problems and hasn't been effective when on the field with 14 carries for 36 yards. He got less than 40 percent of the snaps last week against Denver, but the Giants were behind and had to throw a lot.
One thing Manning and counterpart Cam Newton appear to have in common is that both are "pressing," at least according to one teammate on each side. I'm not sure Newton will ever be the star he looked to be in his rookie year as he is just 13-21 as a starter. The former Heisman winner completed only 55.3 percent of his passes last week against Buffalo and overthrew his first four deep passes. Carolina is 30th in passing, and Newton's receiving corps leaves a lot to be desired (former Giant Domenik Hixon has been a bust so far). Newton also rushed just four times for 15 yards against the Bills.
Carolina's secondary is a bit of a mess with injuries as it lost free safety Charles Godfrey to a season-ending Achilles' injury. Starting left corner Josh Thomas should be able to play this week after suffering a minor concussion against Buffalo. Mike Mitchell will replace Godfrey.
Last season these teams also played Week 3 in Charlotte in a short week, and the host Panthers were totally unprepared in a 36-7 defeat. I can't remember a home team looking worse since these Thursday night NFL Network games started. Manning threw for 288 yards and a TD, while Newton was 16-of-30 with three picks. Carolina had five turnovers overall and was outgained 303-125 while falling behind 20-0 in the first half.
Giants at Panthers NFL Week 3 Betting Odds and Trends
At WagerWeb, Carolina is a 1.5-point favorite with a total of 46. New York is 7-2-2 ATS in its past 11 games after a double-digit loss at home. The G-Men are 0-5 ATS in their past seven road games. Carolina is 9-3 ATS in its past 12 against teams with a losing record. It is 7-3 in its past 10 after an ATS loss. The Cats are 2-6 ATS in their past eight home games. The “under” is 9-2 in New York's past 11 road games. The “over” is 4-0 in Carolina's past four after a loss.
NFL Picks: Giants at Panthers Week 3 Betting Predictions
While the Giants weren't deserving of winning either of their first two games, Carolina easily could have -- that close opening loss to Seattle looks even better now. The Panthers have entered the fourth quarter with the lead in their first two games and lost both. They have now lost 10 games when entering the final quarter with the lead under coach Ron Rivera. That's tied with Philadelphia for most in the NFL in that span. A poll this week in the Charlotte Observer had about 80 percent of the responses wanting Rivera gone. Owner Jerry Richardson isn't the most patient type and has Bill Cowher living not far away. Rivera HAS to win this game, or his seat will be boiling hot entering the bye week. If Carolina gets blown out, I don't believe he's on the sideline in Week 5.
I worry about that patchwork Carolina secondary against Manning, but the Cats do have a very good front seven. The Giants, meanwhile, are getting no pressure on the quarterback with two sacks. In addition, New York hasn't been great against the run, and Carolina is No. 6 in rushing. This is one of those even matchups where I'd simply lean the home team if it's less than a 3-point favorite. Thus, go Carolina and the over.
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