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Inside the Numbers: Panthers at Giants Game Preview

Breaking down this week's matchup agains the New York Giants.

For the last three weeks, the Carolina Panthers have found themselves on the wrong side of the score and now have a record of 3-3 following a 3-0 start to the season. This Sunday, the Panthers look to snap that three-game skid on the road against the injury-riddled New York Giants.

What can we expect to happen in this matchup? Let's take a look.

When the Panthers have the ball

Panthers offenseStatsGiants defense

353.8 (18th)

Total Yards Per Game/Allowed

401.3 (17th)

109.5 (17th)

Rushing Yards Per Game/Allowed

137.2 (29th)

3.86 (23rd)

Rushing Yards Per Attempt/Allowed

4.52 (25th)

244.3 (15th)

Passing Yards Per Game/Allowed

264.2 (22nd)

18 (T-26th)

Sacks Allowed/Sacks

10 (T-27th)

35.0 (26th)

Third Down Efficiency

43.0 (21st)

23.8 (16th)

Points Per Game/Allowed

29.5 (T-29th)

The Panthers are not going to have their full complement of receivers this week with a number of guys dealing with injuries. Rookie Terrace Marshall Jr. and Alex Erickson are recovering from concussions and their status for this Sunday's game is questionable. According to Rhule, it seems unlikely that Marshall will be able to suit up. "You all saw it. It was a pretty big hit."

In addition to those two injuries, Carolina will also be without Brandon Zylstra who was placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. This leaves Joe Brady's offense with just three healthy wide receivers - DJ Moore, Robby Anderson, and Shi Smith. C.J. Saunders, Keith Kirkwood, Aaron Parker, and Matt Cole are all candidates to be elevated to the active roster come Sunday.

Carolina will be attempting to "redefine" who they are offensively this week and not just because they are shorthanded at receiver. Head coach Matt Rhule has made it a big point of emphasis to run the football more moving forward. 

"We've just not been committed enough to running it. That's going to change, I can just tell you that right now. You'll see a vastly different look from us moving forward. We're not going to lineup and drop back and throw it 40 times a game and think that that's going to win the game for us. It hasn't. We're going to redefine who we are and we're going to run the football and we're going to protect our quarterback, and we're not going to turn the ball over anymore. We need to fix ourselves first. We don't need to panic."

Chuba Hubbard has stepped up in Christian McCaffrey's place and has performed extremely well. In three starts, Hubbard has rushed for 219 yards on 53 carries. He had a couple of drops in the passing game but Joe Brady feels confident that he can still be a factor in that area of the game. 

Fortunately for this struggling Panthers' offense, the Giants' defense hasn't done much well this season. They are one of the worst units against the runs in the league and don't apply much pressure on the quarterback, only registering ten sacks on the year. If there is ever a game for Sam Darnold to get back on track, this is it. He has to show that he is capable of leading this team by cutting back on the turnovers which have become problematic during the losing streak. 

When the Giants have the ball

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Giants OffenseStatsPanthers Defense

360.7 (16th)

Total Yards Per Game/Allowed

308.3 (3rd)

89.8 (25th)

Rushing Yards Per Game/Allowed

111.5 (15th)

3.91 (22nd)

Rushing Yards Per Attempt/Allowed

4.68 (27th)

270.0 (10th)

Passing Yards Per Game/Allowed

196.8 (2nd)

12 (T-13th)

Sacks Allowed/Sacks

16 (T-6th)

37.7 (24th)

Third Down Efficiency

29.6 (2nd)

19.0 (27th)

Points Per Game/Allowed

20.2 (6th)

There are a ton of Qs, Os, and IRs when you look at the Giants offensive depth chart. This is one beaten-up bunch that will have to try and move the ball against one of the best defenses in the NFL who are coming off of their worst performance of the season, meaning this will be a motivated Panthers defense. 

Since there are a ton of question marks on the offensive side of the ball, we will center more of our focus on the Panthers. First and foremost, they have to generate some type of pressure. Teams have been double-teaming Haason Reddick and Brian Burns, using max protection, and chips from tight ends to alleviate the pressure on the offensive line. Phil Snow has to be creative in dialing up pressure whether it comes up the middle from the linebackers, off the edge from a safety or pushing the nose of the pocket with Derrick Brown and DaQuan Jones. 

Gap discipline has been a major issue for the Panthers during their losing streak. As Phil Snow eluded to on Thursday, it's not always the same guy nor always the same level of the defense that is out of place. Much of that stems from a lack of communication. Brian Burns said that it all starts with the guys up front and from there, it has to trickle all the way back into the secondary. 

The Giants have not run the football with much success in 2021, largely due to the injuries that have occurred at the position. Saquan Barkley (ankle) is questionable for this week's game but if anyone saw what his ankle looked like on Sunday (don't look) I find it hard to believe that he will be in uniform come gameday. 

Carolina has to center their game plan around Daniel Jones. Man, that feels weird to say. Is he an elite quarterback? No, but he can make plays with his feet when needed, which at times, has given the Panthers problems. With receivers Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, John Ross, Kenny Golladay, and Kadarius Toney all questionable leading into Sunday, there's no telling where the production from the receiving corps is going to originate. The one thing Snow does know is that Jones is healthy and that's where the offense starts, at least right now. 

"We kind of know what they're going to run. They've just had a number of different wideouts that have played. Nine different wideouts have played. They have a lot of good wide receivers so I don't think it's going to change much."

Kickoff between the Panthers and Giants is set for 1 p.m. EST on FOX. 

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