Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Panthers-Giants and more

At long last, it's game week for the Carolina Panthers, and if you are feeling confident that this team can contend for an NFC title, I'd love to know why.

I'm not dissing the Panthers, I just want to know why you are confident. I have some doubts.

Defensively, the Panthers are young, but they are flying around (at least they did in the pre-season). They are so active, and swarm to the ball, it was fun to watch in the exhibitions. Special teams seems to be improving week to week, and that, too is a good thing.

Offensively, there are concerns, and there really shouldn't be. That unit went 4 games without an offensive touchdown. That is hard to do. Stats LLC says the Panthers are the first team in at least 14 years to accomplish that feat. This unit, however, is the most in tact of the football team. Three of the five starters from last year's offensive line are back, although Jeff Otah has yet to play after having arthroscopic knee surgery at the start of camp. Matt Moore finished the season at QB, and he's back. DeAngelo Williams returns, as will Jonathan Stewart, but like Otah, Stewart didn't see the field in pre-season. Steve Smith is back as well, but he missed the pre-season too. Lots of unknowns, but with all due respect to the work done by Stewart and Smith in their careers, Otah might be the most valuable missing piece. Moore doesn't have his usual pocket comfort, Smith may not be able to get open, and Stewart can't run around the right side of the line without Otah doing his thing. No word yet on if he'll play Sunday against the Giants.

The Giants were smashed in their home finale last season by Carolina, in what would be the final regular season game played at the old Giants Stadium. The same two teams will christen the new place (a gorgeous building located right next to where the old one stood). As if the Giants needed it, they have additional motivation for Sunday.

I like the Giants in this one, but not by much. It could be a 7 point game, but if the offense can't find its way, it will be much worse.

Want to throw in my .02 on the Ryder Cup. Can't wait to see if Team USA can retain the Cup./ Tuesday, Captain Corey Pavin picked Tiger Woods, Stewart Cink, Zach Johnson and Rickie Fowler to complete his 12 man team. I love the picks, even the Fowler selection. At 21, Fowler has yet to win on the PGA Tour. The same can be said for teammate Jeff Overton, who made the team based on points. Fowler has a 7-1 record in Walker Cup play, and his fearless style will serve him well in match play. This USA team is a nice blend of old and young, but don't count out the Europeans. I'm still picking the US to retain the Cup in what promises to be a wonderful weekend of golf from Celtic Manor, beginning on October 1st.

Thanks for checking out the blog, and if you are a drag racing fan, be sure to check out Sports Night at 10, as we go one-on-one with Top Fuel Driver Antron Brown!

Mike Solarte

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