Matchups Week 2: Giants vs. Panthers

New York Giants (1-0) vs. Carolina Panthers (0-1) 

Spread: Giants -2.5.

Game Total: 42.5

Team Totals: Giants (22.5), Panthers (20).

Weather: Outdoors, no current concerns.

The Line Report

  • This line opened as Giants -2.5.
  • This line has stayed as Giants -2.5 through the middle of the week.
  • DraftKings Pick’Em has the Giants -2.5.
  • Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has the Giants -2.
  • This total opened at 42.5 points, with a few 43-point options available.
  • This total has currently settled at 42.5 points. 

Notable Injuries

Giants: WR Wan’Dale Robinson (Questionable), C Jon Feliciano (Questionable), EDGE Azeez Ojulari (Questionable), EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux (Questionable), CB Aaron Robinson (Out).

Panthers: OT Taylor Moton (Questionable), LB Frankie Luvu (Questionable).

Giants Offense vs. Panthers Defense

The Giants offensive line and the Panthers defensive line are both average, at best, units with some blue-chip talent. From a macro sense this trench matchup is a relative draw. That said, Panthers EDGE Brian Burns will be a challenge for either of the Giants’ young offensive tackles. Panthers defensive tackles Derrick Brown and Matt Ioannidis draw one of their better interior matchups of the season in the Giants.

Notes and Observations

  • The Giants are 1-0 against the spread this season.
  • The Giants are 0-1 on overs this season.
  • Per The Edge, Brian Daboll’s new look Giants offense was eighth in play-action percentage in Week 1.
  • Jones has some difference making traits, but he continues to make careless mistakes that cost his team. 
  • The Panthers only allowed 10 yards rushing to Jacoby Brissett last week.
  • Carolina allowed the second-most yards rushing and the 19th-most yards receiving to opposing running backs in Week 1.
  • The Giants’ Week 1 opponent, the Titans, were the only team to allow more yards rushing to running backs than the Panthers last week.
  • Rushing for 164 yards and a score on 18 attempts while catching 6-of-7 targets for 30 yards, Saquon Barkley was the Giants offense in Week 1.
  • The Panthers allowed the third-fewest yards receving and the seventh-fewest receptions to wide receivers in Week 1.
  • Giants wide receiver Kadarius Toney had a shockingly limited workload last week, but he looked electric in his limited opportunities.

Considering that the Browns ran all over Carolina last week and that Daniel Jones has yet to establish himself as a feared passer, we can reasonably expect the Panthers to “make Daniel Jones beat them” from a game planning standpoint.

  • Carolina gave up the tenth-fewest yards receiving and the eighth-fewest receptions to tight ends in Week 1.
  • The Giants were the only team not to target a tight end in Week 1. 

Panthers Offense vs. Giants Defense

I’m just as concerned about the Panthers offensive line as our Joe Banner is. When the Giants front four is at full strength, they are a fringe top-ten unit. Unfortunately for New York, their starting edge rushers missed Week 1 and remained on the injury report through Thursday. It would be a surprise if No. 5 overall pick Kayvon Thibodeaux suited up for this one. At full strength, the Giants have a trench advantage in this matchup. If their young EDGE duo is either limited or misses this contest outright, that advantage will be significantly reduced just as it was in Tennessee last week.

Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey could conceivably destroy New York’s bottom-of-the-barrel linebacker group in space. It will be malpractice if McCaffrey isn’t a major part of the Panthers passing game early and often. Similarly, D.J. Moore is the type of player that could give New York’s suspect cornerback group real problems.

Notes and Observations

  • The Panthers are 0-1 against the spread this season.
  • The Panthers are 1-0 on overs this season.
  • Per The Edge, Baker Mayfield had the 15th highest play action percentage on opening day.
  • Among Week 1 starters, Baker Mayfield was 23rd in air yards per attempt last week.
  • The Giants allowed the 13th-most yards-rushing and the ninth-most yards receving to opponent running backs last week.
  • New York did a better-than-expected job bottling up Derrick Henry in Week 1. However, Dontrell Hilliard beat up the Giants in the passing game.
  • The Giants allowed the 14th-most yards receiving and the 17th-most receptions to wide receivers in Week 1.
  • New York gave up the 19th-most yards receiving on the 12th-most receptions to Titans tight ends last week.

This is What You’re Betting On in Giants vs. Panthers 

A bet on the Giants is a bet on a new, promising regime that inherited a very limited roster. I’m in lockstep with Joe Banner’s overall assessment of the Giants. In his head coaching debut, Brian Daboll rolled the dice by going for two late in Tennessee. He stole a win with that move and made it very clear that the Giants have a vastly different football culture going forward. But let’s be clear, outside of Saquon Barkley the Giants were unimpressive in an ugly football game last Sunday. If you’re betting on the Giants you are, in many ways, betting on Barkley to be the centerpiece of this offense.

If the Giants front four is fully operational for this contest, they will have a trench edge against Carolina. My biggest concerns with any pro Giants bet are that Daniel Jones is one of the least reliable starting quarterbacks in the league and New York could have major problems with Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore in space.

A bet on the Panthers is a bet on a volatile football team with one of the most unsuccessful coaching staffs in the league. It’s also a bet on Baker Mayfield, who happens to be the best quarterback on the field in this contest. A bet on the Panthers is built on Christian McCaffrey and/or D.J. Moore giving the Giants major problems. In Week 1 against a tough Cleveland team, the Panthers played their best football late in the game and could have easily left victorious. A Panthers bet can also be a direct bet against Daniel Jones. My biggest concern with a Panthers bet is I have little confidence the combination of Matt Rhule and Ben McAdoo will have a smart, opponent-specific game plan.

Winner/ Confidence Pool: It’s still early, but I expect to take the Panthers as a small differentiator option in winner pools. Regardless of who I take in this contest, they will be towards the bottom of my confidence pool rankings.

Spread Pool: The Panthers will be among my pool of options at +2.5.

Survivor: Avoid this game in survivor pools.

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