- Matt Williamson, ESPN.com
After watching the Week 16 games, Scouts Inc. shares its 10 key observations:
1. What happened to the Giants? In their last game at Giants Stadium and with their playoff lives on the line, the Giants came out completely flat against Carolina. This is the polar opposite of what the Giants did in Week 15, when they completely dismantled the rival Redskins. As detailed below, the Panthers deserve plenty of credit for New York's blowout loss, but overall, this was an unacceptable performance for Big Blue right from the start. New York was far less physical in all phases. The defense couldn't get off the field to save its life and was atrocious on third downs. Not only was this the swan song of Giants Stadium and the Giants' playoff chances, but probably of defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan as well.
2. Carolina finishing strong: What the Panthers have done on the ground to close out this season is remarkable. Having an upgrade at the quarterback position with Matt Moore has opened up room, but remember, starting tackles Jeff Otah and Jordan Gross are on injured reserve. The Panthers moved the ball at will against the Giants, mostly on the ground, but also by mixing in timely passes. While many are calling for Carolina to part ways with John Fox, this is a very well-coached football team that has a plan and sticks to it. Fox did, however, stick with QB Jake Delhomme for far too long this season. Delhomme crippled the team. That being said, the Panthers are playing quite well right now.
9hEric D. Williams
22hBy Dan Graziano
2dMatt Walks, ESPN.com