The New York Giants are gearing up for their home opener against the Carolina Panthers in Week 2.
Video games, especially fighting games, have the concept of a “mirror match”.
The basic concept is to play against an opponent controlling the same character you’re playing, but with a different color scheme. In many ways, the Giants and Panthers were the same team in Week 1, but the results were dramatically different.
Both teams started their respective games with a poor showing offensively. Neither offense was in sync to start the game, consistently struggling to move the ball into the air or pick up first downs. They played hard defensively, but both sides had him down two possession holes by halftime. Both staged furious comebacks in the second half, with the game falling to a field goal in the final seconds.
But while the Titans’ veteran kicker missed the usual 47-yard field goal to secure the Giants’ victory, the Panthers were able to pull off a massive 58-yard kick by Browns rookie kicker Cade York. I lost when I drilled.
Can the Panthers’ attacks be synchronized?
The Panthers offense was downright ugly in the first half of the game against the Browns. Baker Mayfield and the receiver disagreed early on and struggled, especially in the scramble drill. The offensive line struggled early on with the Browns’ defensive his front (more on that later), leading to frustration with his game running, batting his passes, and failing on-screen blocks.
Carolina’s first five drives were three-and-outs, and the first 19 plays were just 13 yards offense.
The Panthers’ offense showed dangerous potential once it picked up momentum in the second half. They have an offensive lineman with the ability to hole in the running game, and the ability to pick up yards in catch-and-run situations and the ability to hit deep in the passing game.
Overall, the Panthers’ offense isn’t bad against the Browns, and speaks to their potential for being just “average” after a horrible game start.
Overall, the Panthers were rated as the 14th team in the NFL in the offensive EPA per play last week. Their passing game was 14th in the EPA and their running game was 10th in the NFL.
The Panthers offense was called up by former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo, a side of which he is well known from 2014-2016. The Panthers’ offense frequently used both his 21 and He 12 manpower in games against the Browns. Unexpectedly, however, they used those formations to throw, letting the Browns field a base or heavy defensive package and force those players into cover.
The Panthers also used screens and quick passes to level their defense and take advantage of spacing. They also used play action and deep crossing routes to attack defenses vertically.
Baker Mayfield struggled early in the game, but played better than his stats suggested. He had several batting passes early in the game and the Panthers struggled with drops and penalties in bad times. We should probably expect more rollouts from Baker to highlight the level.
You can also expect the Panthers to open up with quick passes and challenge players starting opposite Adley Jackson. Aaron Robinson’s appendectomy creates an opportunity for the Panthers and McAdoo wants to get the offense into rhythm early on. Whether or not you can sync when the game starts is another matter.
The Carolina Panthers have three potentially dangerous weapons in Mayfield’s offense.
First and most obvious is RB Christian McCaffrey, who has played just 10 games in the last two seasons. McCaffrey is one of the most offensive weapons in the NFL when he is healthy. He is a very fast and fluid runner with great vision, contact his balance and agility. McCaffrey can change direction and acceleration, so he can quickly pick up extra yardage after he comes off a tackle. He is also a natural receiver and is comfortable running his route, catching the ball and playing in space. McCaffrey’s versatility and agility make him a very different threat than Derrick Henry. Henry has great open field speed for his size, but needs a little runway to get going. McCaffrey’s quickness and agility make it more difficult.
The Panthers’ top receivers are Robbie Anderson and DJ Moore, each offering different skill sets. Anderson is the Panthers’ “number one” receiver, and a week ago he broke for 100 yards (with a touchdown). That’s a nice rebound after just 519 yards and five touchdowns he scored in 2021 overall. Anderson had a (very) down season with Sam, while Darnold in 2021 was a 1,000-yard receiver in each of his two years before that. Anderson isn’t particularly fat, but he’s long enough to eat up the grass in his open field with long strides.
At 6 feet 210 pounds, Moore is a stout receiver and explosive athlete. He has an explosive lower body, quick feet and excellent long speed. Moore has topped his 1,000 yards in each of the last three seasons, averaging a staggering 18.1 yards per reception in 2020.
The Giants have a weak linebacker and could bring back a fair amount of rookie Dane Belton in the second level. The Giants struggled to regain Dontrell’s Hilliard speed and receiving ability in Week 1. The Panthers were certainly watching.
We might see the Panthers try to use Moore in the middle area of the field. Put Moore’s speed and acceleration against the Giants’ safety and linebackers, especially if the defense is keying McCaffrey.
The Panthers also use tight ends Tommy Tremble and Ian Thomas and running backs Donta Foreman and Chuva Hubbard to balance out key offensive players.
fighting in trenches
Like the opening day games of both the Giants and Panthers, this game can be won (or lost) in the Trench.
The Panthers offensive line ranked 30th in pass block winning percentage and 17th in run blocking winning percentage, struggling against a superior Cleveland defensive front. These win percentages correspond to some ugly plays on tape, but Carolina has talent on the offensive side.
The Panthers’ offensive line is led by right tackle and team captain Taylor Morton. Morton is a former second-round pick and has become one of the better offensive tackles in the NFL. Despite an overall poor offensive line for the Panthers last year, Morton surrendered only one sack (and 27 pressures) with his 713 passes his blocks his snaps . He is a smooth mover with impressive power both on his protection on the pass and on his block on the run. The Panthers are also clearly excited about the offensive he tackles he ykem he ekwonu, a rookie who drafted him 6th overall. Ekwonu was still a work in progress, and defensively he struggled hard with the enviable task of blocking Garrett and Jaydeveon Clowney against Miles at the end.
At the time of this writing, it is not known if the Giants will have Kavon Thibodeau or Aziz Ojulari available in the game. It doesn’t present much of the same kind of challenge as Defender.
A matchup between the Panthers’ inside offensive line and the Giants’ defensive tackle could tip in the Giants’ favor.
Right guard Austin Corbett is a tough and reliable lineman who joined the Panthers after starting 40 of 41 games with the Los Angeles Rams after being traded to the Cleveland Browns midway through the 2019 season.
Left guard Brady Christensen has struggled for the 2021 position and is transitioning from left tackle to inside after acquiring Ekwonu in this year’s draft. Christensen is athletic, but at six feet he’s relatively thin for a 6,305-pound guard. He’s still adjusting to his new position and Wink Martindale will try to target him with Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams. , was an okay blocker in the first game, but had a few failed snaps. These snaps disrupt the Panthers’ drive, and it’s almost certain that Martindale will test the Elf line with stunts, twists, delayed blitzes, and all-out pressure in the middle.
How Elflein and Christensen handle the Giants’ pressure package could go a long way in determining the direction of the game.