The Giants remain in the mix for the NFC East crown and, by extension, a postseason berth thanks to Monday’s 31-24 victory over the Dolphins.
Although tied for first with two other division rivals at 6-7, neither the Redskins nor the Eagles is tasked with facing the league’s lone remaining unbeaten team, the 13-0 Panthers.
The Giants have played well against good teams and poorly against bad ones, so there’s no counting out Big Blue before they take the field against Carolina at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. Here’s a look at three keys to the matchup.
Beckham vs. Norman
As epic as a pay-per-view bout, the matchup between electric Giants wideout Odell Beckham Jr. and shutdown cornerback Josh Norman of the Panthers pits two of the league’s finest at their respective positions against one another.
While Beckham has eight 100-yard games this season, just three players have hit that mark against Carolina’s secondary. If the Giants are to win, Beckham must become the fourth.
MVP front-runner Cam Newton, the Panthers’ multitalented quarterback, has been on fire of late. In seven games since the start of November, Newton has 19 touchdown passes — plus three more rushing scores — and just three interceptions.
The last time the Giants faced Newton in 2013, he tossed three touchdowns and ran for another in a 38-0 drubbing. Creating turnovers is imperative: Newton is 4-11 for his career in games during which he threw multiple interceptions.
A running start
The Giants’ running backs must step up. Carolina has allowed four yards or more per carry just five times this season, winning those games by an average of 8.6 points. When holding opponents to less than four per attempt, the average margin of victory jumps to 15.6.
Lead back Rashad Jennings’ workmanlike performance in Miami (22 carries, 81 yards) was helpful, but he may need a season-best effort this weekend.