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“I feel like we’ve just been one block away or six of the guys are doing a great job and one guy is maybe missing,” Manning said of the run game. “We’re very close to getting that back on a roll, and obviously you’re playing against good defenses. They have good players, and they’re going to make some plays sometimes. But I think we are close on a lot of them and we’ll get that going.”
One of the positives coming from the first two weeks has been the pass protection. The No. 1 net passing rank takes into consideration yards lost on sacks, of which the Giants have given up just four quarterback takedowns despite Manning’s 91 attempts.
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That’s why Manning thinks if the two facets can meet each other, then the offense can take off.
“I think our offensive line has done a good job in protection,” Manning said. “I think guys are getting open, so I think it is positive if that’s something we need to go to and we have to throw it. We feel very good about it. I think if we can get a mix, it will help us out.”
The Panthers might seem like the perfect remedy for the 0-2 Giants – they have outscored them 67-25 in two consecutive wins and have taken four out of the last five – but winless Carolina is just as hungry for its first win.
And while Cam Newton receives a lot of attention, middle linebacker Luke Kuechly is becoming a star in his own right.
The leader of the defense and the ninth overall draft selection in 2012 led the NFL in total tackles as a rookie last season. He currently is second in the NFL this season with 23 tackles and notched an interception last week in the Panthers’ 24-23 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
“They’re a really good defense, and the first two games, they’ve played outstanding,” Manning said. “They held Seattle to 12 points, and they did really well against Buffalo. The two-minute drive at the end and a penalty was a big part of Buffalo getting into the game in the first place. They’ve played very well. We’ve got to go out there and play our best football.”