When the Carolina Panthers' injury report was posted yesterday, the New York Giants' coaching staff must have breathed a sigh of relief. The Panthers listed five defensive backs on the report, not including starting safety Chris Godfrey, who tore his Achilles tendon last Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.
To put that number (6) in perspective, NFL teams typically carry eight to nine defensive backs on its entire roster, and Carolina has more than half that number on its injury report.
Three of the four defensive secondary starters will miss Sunday's game against New York. In addition to Godfrey, who is out for the year, starting safety Quintin Mikell is out with an ankle injury, and starting cornerback Josh Thomas will miss the game with a concussion.
Reserve cornerback DJ Moore sprained a knee and was ruled out against the G-men earlier this week, while backup cornerback James Dockery will be a game-time decision. Dockery has not played this year after sustaining a thumb injury in the preseason.
New Carolina general manager Dave Gettleman brought back veteran cornerback Drayton Florence, who was cut by the Panthers in preseason, and things are so bad in Charlotte, that he will start on Sunday.
Fresh off the practice squad, Carolina signed Robert Lester and inserted him in the starting lineup as well at the strong safety spot. Reserve Mike Mitchell will start as the free safety in the Panthers' scheme.
Captain Munnerlyn is the lone starter healthy enough to suit up for the contest against the Giants, but Munnerlyn is short (5'8"), so expect New York to try to expose a height differential with Rueben Randle, especially in the red zone.
The Giants' Eli Manning is second in the league with 812 passing yards after two games; he is one yard behind Aaron Rodgers for the top spot. Meanwhile, Victor Cruz has 236 receiving yards, good for third in the entire NFL, and Hakeem Nicks has 197 receiving yards after two games.
Tight end Brandon Myers has 140 yards receiving this season, and he caught a touchdown pass in week one against Dallas.
New York's offensive problems can be summed up in one word: turnovers. The Giants have coughed the ball up nine times in two contests, including an unsightly seven interceptions by Manning.
Both teams have started off the 2013 NFL campaign winless after two weeks, and a third straight loss, for either team, would dampen its playoff outlook significantly.