Getting into a debate with some friends, I found myself defending the hometown Carolina Panthers. It has become public perception that the Giants are hands down the best team in the NFC. At the risk of sounding like Rodney Dangerfield, the Panthers are getting no respect. Obviously, there are other teams that are players (Tampa), but this particular argument is solely between the Panthers and the Giants.
Schedule: NYG opponents' record: 26-39 CAR opponents' record: 33-32
In other terms, the Giants have played 5 division cellar dwellers, the Panthers 2. The Panthers have defeated two division leaders, the Giants one. The Giants got Washington's worst effort, they've played against two coaches who have since been fired, Seattle in the dreaded west-to-east cross country 1 o'clock game, and an imploding Dallas team.
Giants pass rush:
The Giants have feasted on bad teams, amassing 18 of their 30 sacks against the Rams, Bengals, and the Niners who are all in the top 5 of sacks allowed. They also feasted on Ben Roethlisberger, who is notorious for holding on to the ball longer than most good QBs. They had four on Sunday against the Cowboys, but the Cowboys have allowed 10 (of 17 total) sacks in the last three games since Brad Johnson took over. Teams the Giants have played have allowed a combined 145 sacks to other teams. Panther opponents have allowed 101 to other teams. The Panthers pass rush is not as imposing as the Giants, but New York does enjoy some inflated stats thanks to their weak schedule. The Panthers have allowed 11 sacks, the same number as the Browns, who the Giants lost to and also did not have a sack against. In the interest of fairness, the most imposing pass rush the Panthers have faced, the Vikings, had 5 sacks. The Cardinals, however, do have the same number of sacks as Minnesota and only had 1. John Abraham has the most sacks (10) of any player that has played Carolina and they held him to 0 sacks and only 1 tackle.
Comparing both defenses in various aspects, the Giants lead in rushing, passing, and total yards allowed. The Panthers, however, have been more effective in holding teams below their average in passing and total yards, and have a distinct advantage in points allowed when compared to the teams averages. You can also see again the mediocrity that the Giants have faced in the first half of the year. Bold indicates the team that has a statistical advantage. The parentheses show the difference between the two teams.
Giants: 85.4 ypg allowed Panthers: 99.9 (+14.4)
Giants: 5 opponents ranked 18 or lower in rush ypg
Panthers: 5 opponents ranked 14 or higher in rush ypg
Giants hold opp. to 78.2% of their avg. rush yards. Panthers: 87.6% (+9.4%)
Giants: 175 ypg allowed Panthers: 194 (+19)
Giants: 6 opponents ranked 19 or lower and 4 ranked 26 or lower in passing ypg
Panthers: 4 opponents ranked in top 10 including 1 & 2.
Giants hold opp to 95.7% of their avg. pass yards. Panthers: 82.7% (-13%)
Giants: 260.4 ypg allowed Panthers: 294.4 (+34)
Giants: 6 opponents ranked 24 or lower including 28, 30, 31, and 32 in offensive ypg.
Panthers: 7 ranked in top 15 and the worst team was 26.
Giants hold opp. to 89% of their avg. total yards. Panthers: 84% (-5%)
Giants: 16.1 points allowed Panthers: 15.9 (-.2)
Giants: Only opponent team ranked in top 15 for points scored – DALLAS! 5 teams 24 or lower
Panthers: 4 opponents in top 10, and only one team lower than 17.
Giants hold opp. to 83.6% of their avg points scored. Panthers: 65% (-18.6%)