Preseason game results are hard to predict and this one between the Giants and Panthers will be no different. Given starters on both sides of the ball will either have limited snaps or not play at all nobody should get too excited about a 'victory'. The common assumption, at least in NY and most of the country is the Giants will crush the Panthers. Panther fans on the other hand are hopeful for a good performance regardless of the final score. If I can;t have a good performance than can we at least have some excitement?
When we look at the specific match-ups between the Panthers defense and the Giants offense here's where I hope to see some Panther excitement:
Panther Blitzes vs. Giants backfield
It was assumed when the Panthers hired the defensive-minded Ron Rivera and then Sean McDermott as Defensive Coordinator the defense would become more aggressive. That has played out as predicted in camp as many Panther defenders, including defensive leader LN Jon Beason have indicated they plan to blitz on 50-60% of their plays. That's a huge number compared to the 2010 defense. I'm excited to see which players rush the QB from what positions and whether the Giants backfield can properly diagnose and pick the blitz up. The Giants are high on rookie FB Henry Hynoski out of Pitt. He will be tested immediately to keep the Giants QB's clean.
More analysis after the jump...
Panthers RDT & RDE vs. Giants Left Side of O-line
The Giants rebuild the left-side of their line and is one of the key changes they will be looking at tonight per Ed Valentine:
The Offensive Line -- I will be trying to watch the revamped left side of the Giants line -- Will Beatty at left tackle, David Diehl at left guard and David Baas at center -- during those 15-18 snaps. The communication isn't likely to be perfect, but let's see what it does look like.
So we get to see how our young DT's in Fua and McClain fare against a new unit as well. I'm also curious to see who lines up on the right side at DE. Per the depth chart it should be Eric Norwood but don't be surprised if they swap him around with Big Money.
The Giants are known for a power running game so we can expect them to pound it up the middle early and often. With LB Jon Beason probably out for the game expect to see Dan Conner in there showcasing his starters ability along with former Eagle Omar Gaither.
Panthers CBs vs. Giants WRs
You may recall WR Hakeen Nicks torched the Panthers for 3 TDs in their match-up last season. He will represent an early test for a fairly young (but experienced) Panther secondary. The Giants are searching for a #2 WR after the departure of WR Steve Smith and that guy mostly is Mario Manningham. But there are several other guys looking for roster spots too. I'll be keeping an eye on CB Captain Munnerly as he looks to prove the Panthers are just fine at the position. Let's also not forget newly acquired CB Chevis Jackson. Is he a viable option at CB? Where does he play in the nickel packages?