Carolina Panthers Following Giants Footsteps
Wayne Root: Carolina Panthers Following Giants' Footsteps
There's already a lot of buzz about the big NFL game this Sunday afternoon featuring the Carolina Panthers and the NY Giants. You know I'm following that very closely because of my roots in the Big Apple. I was born in Mt. Vernon, NY as a true S.O.B. (son of a butcher!).
One point that should be emphasized more, in my view, is that this current Carolina Panthers team features many of the best characteristics of the recent NYG Super Bowl champions. In fact, you could say that Carolina is a "new" version of those G-men.
*Great defense, particularly when healthy
*Strong running game
*Effective passing game
*Forcing opposition turnovers while avoiding them yourself
Carolina isn't winning the way New England did with Tom Brady. Carolina is winning the way the NY Giants did when they were beating Tom Brady! That's something a New Yorker will notice.
Maybe that won't be enough for Carolina to finish the regular season undefeated. It's tough to stay focused every single week during a long season. And, the Panthers may choose to rest some starters once they've locked up the #1 seed. But, there is a lot to like about Carolina's chances in January. If Cam Newton can keep his head on straight amidst increased media hype...this is a legitimate championship team.
Let me focus first on the defense. Newton's getting all the headlines. But, this defense has been rock solid all season. Look at these two critical categories...
NY Giants 24
NY Jets 24
Kansas City 24
Carolina isn't just best in the NFL...but they're WAY ahead of the other good turnover-forcing teams. They've become the new Seattle in terms of bullying people and taking the ball away. I don't know why the media won't give them more credit for this. Those are great comparisons if you're talking about the Super Bowl champion Giants, or the Seattle team that just played in two straight Super Bowls.
New England 42
Not quite on top, because Denver and New England are having slightly better seasons. But, Carolina is #1 in takeaways and #3 in sacks...while only Pittsburgh appears on both lists. And, if you add up takeaways and sacks...well, it's clear that nobody else in the NFL is wreaking havoc quite like the Panthers.
WHAT A DEFENSE!
I also noticed something this week while handicapping this game. You probably don't think of Cam Newton and Eli Manning as being similar quarterbacks. Well, they both played college ball in the SEC! But, Newton is known more for his swagger and running ability, while Eli is more of a humble kid who tries to win with his arm. Check out THESE stats from the 2015 season.
Cam Newton: 96.9 passer rating, 28 touchdown passes, 10 interceptions
Eli Manning: 96.0 passer rating, 28 touchdown passes, 10 interceptions
Not only has Carolina become a new version of the New York Giants. But, Cam Newton has become Eli Manning!
Well, Eli Manning if Eli could also scramble out of trouble or jump over the point of attack in short yardage situations.
Obviously Carolina will be a team to watch in January. What about this week? Will THE KING OF UPSETS be picking the G-men to end Carolina's undefeated run? You'll have to be a client to find out!
I will tell you this:
*Carolina could be flat after playing two straight divisional games
*Carolina's last road game was a near loss in New Orleans
*The Giants are familiar with this style, so they won't be intimidated
*The Giants need the win much worse because they're fighting to make the playoffs. Carolina is already a postseason lock with 13 wins.
Those are legitimate reasons to step in with an upset call. On the other hand...
*New York has a short week off a Monday nighter in Miami
*New York really hasn't been in very good form the past few weeks
*Carolina's close game at New Orleans was an exception to the Panthers' normal rule
*Whatever NY does, Carolina's better at it!
I still have some thinking to do between now and kickoff. This is a big NFL week for me with the Jets playing in a high profile Saturday night game, followed by the Giants in the top early Sunday attraction.
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We've reached what are perhaps the most exciting few weeks on the year in football betting here in Las Vegas. We have the stretch run of the NFL regular season running concurrently with the loaded college bowl slate. Performing WHEN YOU HAVE TO WIN is what made me the only man in the sports betting industry who has a star on the local "Walk of Fame." That's why it's time for you to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!
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