Carolina Panthers vs. New York Giants Preview and Pick – Point Spread – 30847

Carolina Panthers (6-8 SU, 7-7 ATS) vs. New York Giants (8-6 SU,
6-7-1 ATS), Week 16, 1:00 p.m. EST, Sunday, December 27, 2009, Giants Stadium,
East Rutherford, N.J., TV: FOX

by Badger of

Point Spread: Panthers +7/Giants -7
Over/Under: 42.5

Two teams both coming off of very impressive victories will clash
again in an NFC brew-ha-ha Sunday when the Carolina Panthers travel to New Jersey to take on the New York Giants in Giants Stadium.

Left for dead by just about everyone and their brother (including
me), the Panthers pulled off a huge shocker last Sunday with a
dominating 26-7 victory over Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings.

Defensive end Julius Peppers played like a man possessed, or at least
a man playing for his next contract, knocking down Favre just about
every time he dropped back to pass and made former All-Pro tackle
Bryant McKinnie look like a high schooler before he was finally
benched. Meanwhile, quarterback Matt Moore looked like and All-Pro
himself, throwing for 299 yards and three touchdowns to lead the
Panthers to their biggest scoring output since early November.

The Giants also turned in a eye-popping performance last week when
they completely embarrassed and humiliated the Washington Redskins in
front of the world on Monday Night Football, 45-12. Facing a must-win
situation, the Giants scored on their first four offensive
possessions and jumped out to a 32-point lead before calling off the
dogs and letting the backups mop up the final quarter.

Despite their strong showing against the Vikings, the oddsmakers out
in Las Vegas arent quite convinced the Panthers have turned the
corner because they opened the game with the Giants as 6.5-point
favorites. The public isnt drinking the Panther Kool-Aid either, as
the point spread has actually moved up at most of the offshore
sportsbooks to a full touchdown 7-points as the Giants destruction of
the Skins on Monday Night seems to have trumped the Panthers display
on Sunday night.

The over/under total opened at 42.5 and has yet to have significant line movement in either direction. Most offshore sportsbooks list the
total at 42.5 on their boards, while just about all of the books in
Las Vegas list it at 42 on their boards, so you may have to fly to
Vegas to get the hook if you want the over.

Theres really nowhere to go but down for the Giants offense, because
they looked nearly unstoppable and virtually perfect against the

Quarterback Eli Manning hit on 73 percent of his throws, hitting the deep dig route over the middle continuously to convert just about
every third down they faced. Running backs Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad
were a perfect power and speed combination on the ground,
giving the Giants balance as the rushed for over 100 yards combined
for the third game in a row.

Keep an eye on the injury report later in the week though, as the Giants have injury issue on their offensive line. Tackle Kareem
McKenzie is already out, his replacement William Beatty is listed as
questionable after hurting his leg in the Skins game and left guard
Rich Seubert also got his leg rolled up on and could also end up
playing at less than 100 percent.

But the Panthers offense also played a near flawless game the last time out too, as Moore played more like a seasoned veteran than the neophyte he is in reality. After only scoring twice in his previous
two starts combined, Moore continually found the forgotten man in the
Panthers offense, receiver Steve Smith, for huge chunks of yards (157
yds., TD) in the passing game.

Moores game became even more clutch because the Panthers two-headed duo of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart went without Williams for most of the game (Williams is questionable for Sunday). Stewart was exceptional as well in picking up the slack, rushing for 109
yards and a score in his absence.

The most impressive part of the Panthers offense against the Vikings
was the fact that all of the yardage came with a makeshift offensive
line in front of them. Both starting tackles are done for the year
(Jordan Gross and Jeff Otah), and the players replacing them
(Travelle Wharton and Geoff Schwartz) held the Vikings pass rush and
specifically Jared Allen to just two sacks in the game.

The once-feared Giants defense seems to have regained their mojo on
Monday night too, pounding Skins QB Jason Campbell often and
registering five sacks in the game. What was telling was that when
the Skins motioned their running back out wide and went empty behind
Campbell, the G-men brought the house on the blitz. Which means
coordinator Bill Sheridan has regained the confidence in his
secondary, even though safety Kenny Phillips is long gone and both
corners Aaron Ross and Corey Webster are dinged up (both listed as

Carolinas defense has played well in recent weeks (allowing just
12.5 ppg in last four games) and they held the Vikings to just seven
points and under 250 total yards. The d-line seems to be feeding off
of Peppers and his energy, while a young secondary also appears to
have turned the corner.

These two teams met last year at the same stage of the season (Dec. 21st last year) in a game that the Giants needed overtime at home in
Giants Stadium to win, 34-28. They also met in 2006 in December, a
27-13 victory for the G-men down in Charlotte. Both games ended with
a Giants cover, but when you look further into the series history
youll find that the Panthers actually own a 3-2 ATS edge in regular
season games.

The over is 4-1 in the last five head-to-head meetings between these two, with the favorite also enjoying a 4-1 ATS edge in the same span.

Badgers Pick: Dont be misled by last weeks offensive outburst
from these two, last week was last week. Two running teams with two
strong pass rushes will turn this game into a struggle. Im leaning
toward the Giants in another must-win game, but Im going to go with
my gut and take the under of 42.5.