Giants vs. Panthers: 3 things to watch

The Giants have a quick turnaround from a hard-fought victory over Tampa Bay to a fellow NFC South opponent.

Three things to watch for

1. No rest for the weary

The Giants are at a marked disadvantage as they have to travel to Carolina on short notice.

The team only had two days to prepare for a Panthers squad that presents many problems for opponents after a full week of preparation, let alone just a couple of days.

Add that to the fact that the Giants head into the game with many question marks along the injury front, and this might not end well for Big Blue. Ahmad Bradshaw, Hakeem Nicks, David Diehl and Domenik Hixon have all been ruled out for tonight’s game after not practicing at all yesterday.

2. Which style of offense will succeed?

The Giants and Panthers put up points in vastly different manners.

Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning can throw with the best of them, as he has numerous options in the passing game. Conversely, Panthers’ signal caller Cam Newton isn’t as conventional, as he’s leading the new-wave of dual-threat quarterbacks who are just as lethal with their feet as they are with their arms.

It’ll be interesting to see which style wins out, as neither defense is considered stout — particularly in stopping the pass. Since the Giants’ running game is a hindrance at times, Manning will lean heavily on wideouts Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. Carolina’s aerial attack is slanted towards one man, Steve Smith, so the Panthers will also look to gash the Giants on the ground via its two-headed attack of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart in their read-option scheme. Stewart (ankle) may not play.

3. Long and short of it

Even though Steve Smith is only 5-foot-9, Giants’ rookie corner Jayron Hosley said the aggressive Smith “plays like he’s 6-foot-4, 6-foot-5.”

Smith is a handful for any cornerback, let alone one who is hurting. Prince Amukamara (ankle) is still day-to-day, although head coach Tom Coughlin thinks he’ll play. Hosley is very talented, but that’s a tough draw for someone making his second start.

Other options for New York in defending Smith include regular starter Corey Webster and Amukamara’s backup, Michael Coe, who is also dealing with a hamstring issue. Whoever draws the mighty mite Smith may be in for a long night.

Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.

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