Thursday Night Football in the NFL will see the New York Giants travel to take on the Carolina Panthers in a prime time matchup. The game is scheduled for an 8:20 p.m. EST start time and it will be televised nationally on NFL Network. Currently the odds for the game have the Panthers favored by a field goal.
The New York Giants are battling some injuries right now. Key players such as Ahmad Bradshaw and Hakeem Nicks aren't going to be able to play in the team's short week, coming off a come-from-behind win over the Tampa Bay Bucs on Sunday. Third receiver Domenik Hixon is also out for the game, so Eli Manning could possibly have his hands full tonight. But, even with the injuries on offense, the defense might be the reason the Giants lose this game to an upstart Panthers club. The secondary is banged up and New York gave 27 points to a Tampa Bay offense that isn't exactly explosive.
On the other hand, we have the Carolina Panthers, who beat the New Orleans Saints last week. They're averaging 22 points per game this season and we all know how they are effective by running the football. In their first two games they are averaging 4.2 yards per carry. Cam Newton is becoming one of the better combo quarterbacks in the league with his ability to beat you with both his feet and his arm. We're looking for Steve Smith to have a big game in this one tonight as he and Newton could exploit that Giants defense.
Carolina doesn't have a huge pass rush and they aren't really good against the run either, allowing opponents to rush for more than 145 yards per game, which is good for 28th in the league. Manning threw for nearly a mile last week, but the NY defense is going to be thrashed in this game tonight. The Giants are giving up 29 points per game and more than 370 yards per game on average, and they've only played Dallas and Tampa Bay, not exactly the Patriots or the Saints.
The Giants and Panthers have split six regular-season meetings, with New York winning three of the last four. Carolina has never won a game on Thursday (0-2). These teams haven't played in Carolina since 2006, when the Giants picked up a 27-13 win, but this is a much different Carolina team.
Free Pick: The Giants passing game is very scary, but when they are down two of their top three guys, we have to take the Panthers. This line has done a done of moving as well. The Giants opened as a 2.5-point favorite but the line has swung 6 points and now the Panthers are favored. You think that is a coincidence? Me either. We're going to take the Panthers to win this game.
NFL Free Picks: New York Giants at Carolina Panthers Betting
What pro football bettors need to know about New York Giants at Carolina Panthers on Thursday (9/20/12) - a free picks from Pregame.com's RJ Bell, with Vegas Runner.
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