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Giants Win, 36-7, Over Scout Team Based in Carolina

Sad Cam (Associated Press/Chuck Burton)

No Ahmad Bradshaw. No Hakeem Nicks. No problem for the New York Giants.

Considering those critical injuries, the short prep week and a road trip after a final-minute win just four days prior, I fully expected the Giants to lose this game.

But I forgot to factor in one thing: The Panthers apparently thought that this game was going to be played on Sunday. They did not show up on offense (Cam Newton), defense (pretty much everyone) and special teams (Joe Adams).

The defense was hardest to watch. If you can’t get any pressure on the quarterback, you should be able to put solid coverage on the receivers, right? It’s 11-on-11, so those guys on one side gotta be doing something with their time. Instead, Carolina constantly avoided Giants receivers as if the Victor Cruz, Ramses Barden and Martellus Bennett were handing out subpoenas.

It was brutal, and I’m a Giants fan. Yeah, I’m pleased with an authoritative road win. But I would like to feel that the Giants earned it through some measure of adversity. The only thing the Panthers didn’t give them Thursday was the gift wrap and bow. I don’t even know if it’s good game with which to analyze the Giants, because Carolina wasn’t an opponent; it was scenery.

Anyway, here are my fantasy takeaways from this game ….

Nothing like signifying that you are Superman when trailing 23-6 in the third quarter.

It was a bad, bad night for Cam, one that ended with getting a teaching moment from his star receiver. I’m pretty sure this will be Newton’s worst game of the year, and while I’m not worried yet, it appears he hasn’t made strides as a passer. We pretty much assumed that he would make up for his inevitable drop in rushing scores with more touchdowns through the air. But his decision-making so far has left a lot to be desired. Two of his three interceptions from Thursday were simple stare-downs that the defense read easily. Newton is still at least top-7 QB option, and don’t sell low on him. Buy low? Without saying, even though I just said it.

Stunned Cam (US Presswire)

— If you want to pick up or have some sort of renewed hope about Greg Olsen, fine. But the production is still not going to be as consistent as you would like. I liked Newton during the preseason, but as Newton struggles as a passer, Olsen just looks to be overrated to me. I’m not buying after one nice game.

— I would have started DeAngelo Williams over Andre Brown coming into this game. And I would have been grossly wrong. It’s not like Williams screwed up; he got just 11 carries and gained 50 yards. It was the Giants’ offense, not their defense, that took him out of the game. And that took place without Jonathan Stewart. I know the Panthers run a lot, but I hate this backfield.

— Speaking of Brown, well, I’m not sure if Bradshaw is this team’s best running back any longer. He certainly looked slow in Week 1, and Brown has shown that he deserves more playing time going forward after a strong seven quarters. He’s a fairly big guy, but he’s got some wiggle to him — or at least he did in this game, because that’s not really a part of his scouting report. He fit through some slim lanes last night.

The bigger news here is that Bradshaw has gone from a solid RB2 just a few weeks ago to a shaky week-to-week play because of Brown’s emergence. Try to deal him now and see what you can get because of his name recognition.

— No matter who gets hurt and can’t play, the Giants keep showing the world that they have superb depth, and Eli Manning will keep putting up big numbers no matter who is on the field.

— David Wilson got one carry last night and can be safely dropped in re-draft leagues. Acknowledging that hurts me deeply.

— When healthy, Nicks and Victor Cruz are still the Giants’ clear top two WRs. But remember how an unknown Cruz put together some big games early last season and became a breakout star even when Nicks and Mario Manningham were on the field? A similar scenario could be taking shape with Barden. He’s a much different player than Cruz, and I wouldn’t put him in my lineup next week versus the Eagles if Nicks is active, but he’s definitely worth a pickup. Barden is a huge target, knows how to use his body to box out defensive backs and has very strong hands for plucking throws out of the air, as he did impressively a few times against the Panthers.

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