In week three of the 2012 season, the New York Giants visited Bank of America Stadium to play Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in what was anticipated to be a close and pivotal game that would set the tone for the next few weeks. The Giants dominated the meeting and left Carolina with a very one-sided 36-7 beating. The Giants would build off of their confidence and win five of their next six games. On the other side of things, the Panthers crumbled into a stretch in which they lost five consecutive games. Now in week three of this season the Giants find themselves in a similar scenario.
Both the Giants and Panthers enter this week’s matchup winless in their 2013 campaign and both are looking forward to proving to their doubters that they are better than their records suggest. The Giants have essentially handed two games to their opponents this season with the amount of turnovers they have had. The Panthers similarly have done the same but with untimely miscues. If things had gone according to plan, Coughlin sees a team that could potentially be 2-0 rather than 0-2 in the Carolina Panthers.
“When the ball was inside the 10 (Week 1 versus Seattle) they had an unfortunate fumble, and the other one (Week 2 at Buffalo) was an interception which basically means the game is over but then they had a penalty. They're taking good care of the ball," Coughlin said.
Despite the praise, the Panthers are what their record shows, like the Giants an 0-2 team. It is due to this reason that the Panthers could care less about the thrashing they faced at the hands of the Giants on their home ground last season. With regards to last season’s matchup Panthers Head Coach, Ron Rivera, had this to say:
"I don't think that should motivate you. You shouldn't have to be motivated to play in the league, first of all. Secondly, this is a very good football team that's coming in. I think that's motivation enough.”
Although this may be true for some, maybe even most players on the roster, Rivera did add that not all of the players have forgotten about the embarrassing lost that yielded a five game losing streak.
"But I think for some guys it will most certainly be a little something that they may fall back to."
Newton who was expected to make the jump into the upper echelon of the NFL’s quarterback class after a stellar rookie season, looked average at best if not worse against the Giants last year when he threw three interceptions in the loss. Blackburn and Hixon, despite the friendships and fondness that exists between the duo and many on the Giants roster, would love nothing more than to show the Giants what could have been had they not parted ways. Panthers' safety Mike Mitchell seems to suggest the motivation and experience of Hixon and Blackburn could be incredibly beneficial for the Panthers’ stout young defense.
"It's helped a ton. Chase is such a smart guy, and he remembers a lot of good useful information. Also, Domenik played wide receiver in that system, so he knows them very well. It's good to sit down with him and get a lot of information on how they like to run their routes and what concepts we are going to be getting."
At the end of the day both teams should be incredibly motivated for this game as since 1990, only 3 out of 113 teams have started the season 0-3 and still went on to make the playoffs (1992 Chargers, 1995 Lions, and 1998 Bills).
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