Originally written on Big Giants Boom  |  Last updated 11/18/14
Cam Newton (Photo by PDA. Photo, used under Creative Commons License)
Jim Mancari
BGB Assistant Editor

Wow, doesn’t it seem like the Giants just played a game? Maybe it’s because the excitement of an epic finish is still fresh in our minds.
But really it’s because the Giants will be squaring off tonight against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football.
Big Blue definitely has some momentum coming into this game offensively, but the real key to a victory will be the defense’s ability to contain second-year Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.
Newton won the 2011 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award after setting an NFL record for touchdowns in a season by a quarterback (14) and becoming the first player in league history to throw for 4,000 yards and rush for 500 yards. He’s an extremely dynamic athlete to say the least.
But speculation surrounding Newton is that he would a prime candidate for the infamous sophomore slump. However, through two games, he has picked up right where he left off last season.
Two interceptions clouded what was overall a good game from Newton in a Week 1 loss to the Buccaneers, but he put up great numbers in Week 2 against the Saints. He completed 70 percent of his passes and also rushed for 71 yards and a touchdown in a Carolina win.
The Giants have to make sure that Newton is not the Panther that runs wild. The former Heisman winner has shown he can be shifty in the pocket, so the Giants’ defensive front has to keep their assignments so Newton doesn’t break free.
The Giants secondary is banged up, so expect the Panthers to come out with an aerial game plan, targeting Steve Smith often. But the goal will be for the Giants to put pressure on the young quarterback to force him into making bad decisions.
That’s exactly how the Giants were able to beat Josh Freeman last week. They had him scrambling and trying to force the ball into his receives, which resulted in some late interceptions.
It will be impossible to completely render Newton ineffective, since he’s beaming with talent. But if the Giants can keep him from making the big play in the big spot, they will hopefully be sitting at 2-1 through the first three games.
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