Five Questions with Tom at about the Panthers-Giants Matchup

Earlier this week we did a Q&A with Tom over at for this weekend’s game between the Giants and Panthers. Tom was good enough to help us out at Panthers Gab answering some questions about Big Blue. Here’s what he had to say:

1. What is the offensive gameplan right now of the Giants? Are they a passing team now or still a team that relies on the run?

I’m hoping the Giants come out throwing the ball against the Panthers. I think they need to send a message to the Panthers after last season’s game in week 16. I really think the Giants will come out and try to establish the running game, though. There’s been a big watch over Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs this offseason as the team tried to figure out who would be the starter. Bradshaw has won the job, but both backs will be used a lot this season.

I think the offense is going to evolve a bit with Bradshaw on the field. They’re going to look to feed him the ball in the passing game, too. I think he could be used in the way the Eagles used Brian Westbrook for such a long time.

All in all, the Giants are still a run first team. That’s how they’ve always been and I don’t think we’ll see a change yet. If the ground game struggles, the Giants could move to become a pass first team. They certainly have the weapons (Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham) to spread the field with the passing game.

2. Biggest area of concern for the Giants on the defensive side of the ball?

Almost every year the answer to this question is the linebackers. This year, while the linebackers are still a concern, I’ll say the cornerbacks are the biggest concern. You might think I’m crazy, since the Giants look pretty solid with Corey Webster, Terrell Thomas, and Aaron Ross. However, all three of these corners have been injured during the preseason and the depth behind them is a huge concern. We all saw how badly the Giants secondary looked during the preseason. They allowed the league’s highest amount of passing yardage per game (288.2 yards per game).

Webster and Thomas should be almost 100% healthy now, but Ross is still a concern. Tom Coughlin has said his case of plantar fasciitis is “getting better”, but we’ll see how he is on Sunday.

Behind the big three, the Giants have Bruce Johnson and DJ Johnson. Bruce Johnson was average last season, but didn’t look too good during the preseason. DJ Johnson didn’t look to good either and it surprised many that he even made the team. The Giants were in need of a fifth corner and he basically got lucky.

3. Do you think the Giants underestimate the Panthers? Or was last seasons game a wake up call and they will look for revenge Sunday?

I don’t think the Giants really underestimated the Panthers. I think last season’s lopsided victory by the Panthers is a result of the defense giving up on former defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan. The team wasn’t motivated by him at all and didn’t believe in his system.

I do think last season’s game served as a wake up call, though. The Giants know what Carolina is capable of on the ground. They need to know they can’t let the Panthers establish a ground game early on because last season Matt Moore was able to do well using the play action pass then. It could be a long day for the defense if they didn’t learn from their mistakes.

4. Overall the outlook for the Giants in 2010?

I think they’ll finish either 9-7 or 10-6. They’ve improved on the defensive side of the ball with the additions of Antrel Rolle and Keith Bulluck. The return of the injured Kenny Phillips will be huge, too.

5. Final score prediction Sunday and why?

17-13 Giants

I think the Giants will be able to slow down Carolina’s run game a bit. I don’t think Matt Moore will be able to get much going for Carolina’s offense if the running game isn’t dominant. NeW York is going to be really fired up for this game after their loss last season. The defense has a lot of energy under Perry Fewell and I don’t expect them to lose this one.

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