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Giants not banking on Week 3 repeat


In Week 3 of the 2012 season, the New York Giants visited Bank of America Stadium to play the Carolina Panthers in a game that both teams considered critical to the direction of their seasons.

While the Giants rolled to a 36-7 victory to open a stretch in which they won five of six games, the Panthers began what would stretch into a five-game losing streak.

The Giants, who like the Panthers are 0-2 record entering the teams' Week 3 rematch Sunday, obviously would like to see history repeat itself.

But Giants head coach Tom Coughlin realizes that 2012 is ancient history.

"There's no doubt that we study that film," Coughlin said. "It's a part of it, but we're obviously glued into the first two games this year, the way in which the games were played."

And when Coughlin puts on film of the latest version of the Panthers, he sees a team that could easily be 2-0 instead of 0-2.

"When the ball was inside the 10 (Week 1 versus Seattle) they had an unfortunate fumble, and the other one (Week 2 at Buffalo) was an interception which basically means the game is over but then they had a penalty," Coughlin said. "They're taking good care of the ball. They've also improved on special teams without a doubt; Ted Ginn gives them an exceptional return man who we've faced over the years.

"They really haven't given up many points. They're a very, very stingy defensive team, a good defensive team with a very good front. Linebackers are very, very active and obviously good tacklers."

Both teams have undergone numerous changes since last year, perhaps most notably the Panthers with their beefed up defensive interior featuring high draft picks Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short. But some things haven't changed since the Giants pass rush made life difficult for Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and since Giants quarterback Eli Manning carved up Carolina's secondary.

The Panthers under first-year general manager Dave Gettleman, the longtime Giants director of pro personnel, moved to shore up their secondary in the offseason. But injuries ravaged the unit last week, leaving who will be available up in the air with Manning's aerial attack coming to town.

But Manning, who ranks second in the NFL with 812 passing yards, is more worried about himself after throwing seven interceptions in the first two games than he is the Panthers' injury report.

"They lost (safety Charles) Godfrey, and a few other DBs are banged up, but I think they're going to have guys out there," Manning said. "Offensively, we've got to be better with the football, just make sure after each play, no matter what happens, we have to make sure we have the ball in our hands.

"There have been some good plays and some good things, but we're soured by our mistakes. We've got to make sure we're playing more consistent, smarter football."

Manning, like Coughlin, would love a repeat of last year's outcome in Charlotte, but he too recognizes that past performance is no guarantee of future results.

"We had one of those days where we had some good calls versus some of their coverages. We just seemed to have the right calls and we executed well," Manning said. "We still have a lot of respect for this team. We know they're talented, and we know we have to play our best football."

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