- THE CHASE CONTINUES**
After watching the Redskins and Eagles win on their travel day to Miami, the Giants knew they had to keep pace in the NFC East race with a victory on Monday night. And they delivered. The Giants defeated the Dolphins, 31-24, to force a three-way tie atop the division at 6-7. However, Big Blue still needs help with tiebreakers as Washington hosts Buffalo (6-7) this week and Philadelphia plays Arizona (11-2) at home on Sunday night.
"We obviously knew what happened [Sunday] in the division, the other teams, so we had to stay on track," quarterback Eli Manning said. "It was a big win also for the fact that it came down to the fourth quarter and we had to make some plays and we had a four-minute drive at the end there where we had to get some first downs to keep the ball and we did that."
2. PERFECT OPPORTUNITY
Since New England fell three weeks ago in Denver, Carolina has been the NFL's last undefeated team and now stands at 13-0. The Panthers have outscored their opponents by 168 points this season, or roughly 13 points per game, which is the best mark in the NFL. They are also first in the league in scoring 31.6 points per game and tied for fourth in allowing 18.7 points per game.
"We'll use whatever motivation we can," coach Tom Coughlin said. "This is a very good football team, they've been extremely productive. They've won some close games and they've won some games that were going away. And they're against some teams that we know very well. So we'll, as I say, the idea the circumstance that an undefeated team, but knowing full well what the situation is in our division. So all of those things combined, we would have to make a great effort."
Playmakers on the Panthers first-team offense, defense, and special teams, presented by Nike
3. ELI vs. CAM
Fifth-year quarterback Cam Newton has emerged as an MVP candidate with 3,062 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions so far this season. He also has 480 rushing yards and seven scores on the ground. The Giants' two games against him and the Panthers were complete opposites. In 2012, Newton, then in his second year, threw three interceptions and no touchdowns as Big Blue won 36-7. In 2013, those numbers were flipped as Carolina won in a 38-point shutout. Meanwhile, Eli Manning, who is also a former No. 1 overall pick, is coming off a career game in a career season. He threw as many touchdowns as incompletions in Miami with four apiece and had a passer rating of 151.5, bringing his season totals to 3,655 yards and 28 touchdowns.
4. JENNINGS HAS THE HOT HAND
The numbers didn't end up flashy in the box score -- the Giants once again fell below the 100-yard mark in rushing against the Dolphins -- but a major reason the team won was the ability to run the ball and pick up first downs, especially in the four-minute offense to close it out. Jennings had a season-high 81 yards, the third-highest total of his two-year Giants career, on 22 carries with a long of 21 yards.
"It was obvious to us last night that some of the runs that Rashad made were outstanding runs that he did an awful lot of that himself," Coughlin said. "He showed power at the end of the run and he was able to push through some of those runs that looked like were three yards to five yards. And what a huge difference that is in the play calling world and in any circle when it's second-and-five and you've got two downs to accomplish the first down. We thought he played very well. He certainly was the guy who made an awful lot of things happen."
5. ODELL KEEPS GOING
Take your pick of receiving records, and there's a good chance Odell Beckham Jr. has broken it or is on pace to break it as a second-year pro. With a season-high 166 yards last week, Beckham extended his franchise record to six consecutive 100-yard games. It was also his 15th 100-yard game of his career, and he now has 24 touchdowns in 25 career games. But now comes the biggest tough yet against Carolina's top-five pass defense. They are first in the league with 21 interceptions and allow just 6.0 yards per pass.
"I knew it was a must win, it's a playoff game for us," Beckham said after the Dolphins game. "The rest of them are playoff games for us. We have been on a losing streak for three games now and we needed to snap it. We all just stepped up [Monday night]. We did a great job, offensive line blocking, Rashad running, Eli getting us in the right formations, right play call, receivers making plays, and defense making stops. I think we did a good job at connecting on all cylinders tonight."