Giants vs. Panthers: Preview, predictions, what to watch for

An inside look at Sunday’s Giants-Panthers Week 2 matchup at MetLife Stadium.

marquee matchup

Panthers WR DJ Moore vs Giants CB Adori ‘Jackson’

Yes, we know Robbie Anderson had a big day in the season-opener — a 75-yard touchdown reception doesn’t hurt — but Moore is the main threat here. He had a career-high 93 receptions in 2021, and an average of 18.1 yards per catch in 2020.

Will Jackson Shadow Moore Be Sarah’s Game? It will be a battle for the pre-draft picks of the first round.

Jackson is coming off a good starting game, showing physical play as a tackler that isn’t always part of his approach.

DJ Moore and Adori ‘Jackson
USA Today Sports; AP

Paul’s Choice

The Giants did a great job with Derrick Henry in Week 1, but Christian McCaffrey is more than a receiving threat and a running back broke free in the secondary when the Titans scored two touchdowns. How long can this defense last without injured pass rushers Kayvan Thibodaux and Aziz Ozulari? Maybe Saxon Barkley will make a difference again.

Giants 24, Panthers 22

four ascents

bully pulpit: Last week LB Tae Crowder pumped up teammates by sending Derrick Henry to the field with a punishing hit. “Beat a bully, you know what I’m talking about?” Defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence told The Post. Next up: Christian McCaffrey. Defensive coordinator Vink Martindale compared Henry to Jim Brown and McCaffrey to Barry Sanders.

“He’s slippery,” Lawrence said of McCaffrey. “He avoids the bully. Running back to me is a running back. A little bit more variation in the way McCaffrey does it, he can get out and catch the ball as well. It’s the same plan, get the ball 11 Doing, stopping him before he leaves and controlling the line of scrimmage. That’s how you kind of run backwards.”

New QB on the scene: Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield didn’t come out on top last week in an emotional game against the Browns, the team that made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft – and turned him away earlier this year. Mayfield struggled early in his Panthers debut. He knows Martindale’s defense from his years at AFC North, when Martindale was with the Ravens.

“I said earlier when he first came out, playing against him, he’s a gunslinger,” Martindale said. “Who did they always call the gunslinger? Brett Favre. Correct? And what did Brett Favre do? He left Atlanta, went to Green Bay, and he took off. The same thing could happen for Baker here.

And now to reiterate: Even more workload for Saquon Barkley? He began his contract year with a stellar performance, scoring a team-high six passes for a run of 164 yards and a touchdown, and scoring the winning points on a 2-point conversion shovel pass. The Browns were grounded in an early loss of the season to the Panthers, allowing 217 rushing yards – 141 by Nick Chubb. The Titans didn’t load the box on defense last week to stop Barkley. Panthers can.

“I think you’re planning for it,” offensive coordinator Mike Kafka said. “I don’t know what they’re going to do. I think you plan for those things and you should get answers within the plan and within the game plan.”

Market preference: Cornerback Aaron Robinson was one of the biggest question marks in the Giants’ starting lineup this season. He did well against the Titans, but dropped out after having his appendix removed. It almost attenuates the already thin condition. The Rookie Cor’Dell Float is an option. Justin Layne, who spent three years with the Steelers, is another. The most experienced option is 28-year-old Fabian Moreau. He started 16 games for the Falcons in 2021 and could move up to the starting spot from the practice team.

“He knows this league and the receivers in this league and how to play,” said defensive back coach Jerome Henderson. “He’s a good addition to us.”

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