If the Panthers have a chance to win on Sunday against the New York Giants, it is going to be on the shoulder pads of the Panthers offense.
That's right gentlemen, you're up.
For two weeks the Panthers have been kept in the game due to the play of the Panthers defense. Against Seattle, they allowed only 12 points. In Buffalo, they provided two key turnovers that resulted in 6 gift wrapped points (should have been 14 points given the excellent field position).
This week, it is time for the Panthers offense to take control and win a game. With key injuries in the Panthers defensive secondary, it is a forgone conclusion that Eli Manning and the New York Giants will score points.
Lots of points.
The good news, however, is that the Giants have also given up at least 36 points in both of their games this season. They are dead last in the league in points allowed at 38.5 a game.
The Panthers offense is healthy. They are now in the third year of the same system (OC Mike Shula was hired solely on the continuity of that system).
There are no excuses. The Panthers should score 30+.
The road to victory will hinge on the following:
1. Right Tackle Byron Bell needs help. Bell had arguably his worst game as a pro against Buffalo. He will need help when facings Giants DE Justin Tuck this weekend. The Panthers can help Bell by chipping Tuck with Greg Olsen or Mike Tolbert. They may also want to consider moving Cam out of the pocket to buy time on passing downs. It is completely obvious that Bell is going to need help, failing to provide him with any this Sunday will be unacceptable.
2. Cam Newton must improve is accuracy while under pressure. This is where good quarterbacks become great quarterbacks. Last week Cam Newton's completion percentage dropped to 36.4 when under pressure. Russell Wilson has a 50% completion rating when under pressure. Eli Manning also completes 50% of his passes while under pressure. If Cam Newton wants to be considered a great QB, he must do so when under pressure.
3. Cam must run. Because of the NFL's new rule that allows harder hitting of a QB while running, Carolina has grounded Cam Newton's rushing attack. While it is a good idea to keep Cam healthy, I feel they have taken it to far. This season Cam has had ample room to run for 5-10 yards and safely and slide, but has chosen not to. Newton has a knack for getting down before a hit and avoiding injury, unlike RGIII. Let Cam run the ball, this will go a long way into pulling linebackers in and opening up passing lanes.
4. Speed it up Shula. This is the second week in a row I have called for the Panthers to speed up the offense. Efficiency is at its highest when Cam can call his own plays at the line and move the chains. This Sunday, the Panthers must go into a hurry up mode and keep the Giants defense winded. New York will most likely score quickly. The Panthers need to match them score for score.