The 13-0 Carolina Panthers travel to New York to take on the Giants on Sunday afternoon. Carolina clinched a first-round bye in the playoffs and remained undefeated with a 38-0 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Running back Jonathan Stewart suffered a foot injury in the second quarter and didn’t return and his status for this game is questionable. The Giants overcame a 17-14 halftime deficit to beat the Miami Dolphins 31-24. The win stopped a 3 game losing streak and placed the Giants in a 3 way tie in the NFC East with the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins.
The Panthers excelled on both offense and defense against the Falcons as they scored 5 touchdowns on their way to 38 points while forcing 4 Atlanta turnovers and shutting them out. Cam Newton continued his good play with another efficient game as he finished with a passer rating of 153.3. He completed 15 of 21 passes for 21 yards and 3 touchdowns with 0 interceptions. Receiver Ted Ginn Jr. led the team with 120 yards on only 2 receptions which both went for touchdowns. Jonathan Stewart led a balanced run game with 10 carries for 75 yards and a touchdown before leaving with a foot injury. Defensively, they had 5 sacks for a loss of 59 yards to go along with 2 interceptions and 2 fumble recoveries. They also completely shut down the running game as the Falcons only gained 54 yards on 16 carries.
Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. both shined in the Giants victory over the Dolphins. Eli finished the game with a passer rating of 151.5 as he completed 27 of 31 passes for 337 yards and 4 touchdowns with 0 interceptions. Beckham led the team with 7 receptions for 166 yards and 2 touchdowns. Rashad Jennings led the team in rush yards with 82 yards on 22 carries. Kicker Joshua Brown missed a 48 yard field goal early in the fourth quarter which would have given the Giants the lead. Defensively, they had issues with the rush as Miami averaged over 5.5 yards per carry in gaining 128 yards on 22 carries. They were able to sack Tannehill once and had 2 tackles for losses. Jason Pierre Paul was able to recover a Dolphins fumble on the first drive of the game which led to a Giants field goal and a 3-0 lead.
The Carolina Panthers are 10-3 against the spread this year including 5-1 on the road. The Giants are 7-5-1 against the spread this year including 3-3 at home. Both teams still have a lot to play for as the Giants are fighting for a playoff spot and the Panthers have a chance at football immortality. With 3 more victories the Panthers would become only the third team since 1942 to finish a season 16-0. Carolina is 5 point favorites in this game and the Giants will have home field advantage. Jonathan Stewart has been very productive this year and if he is ruled out for the game, his production will be difficult to replicate.
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