After watching the Panthers roll up 463 yards during Sundays win against New Orleans, offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski had about 20 minutes to bask in the victory.
The celebration was so short he missed his postgame kiss from his wife Sheila.
It was interesting because after the game youre pretty excited and happy about things. I didnt even get a chance to come out and give my wife a kiss after the game, Chudzinski said. We just went straight back up to the office and started looking at Giants tape. Its a quick turnaround and you really have to be focused.
The Panthers have three days to cram for the Super Bowl champion New York Giants, who will come to Charlotte for a nationally televised game Thursday. It will be the Panthers first prime-time game at home since a 24-17 loss to Miami in 2009.
While Panthers coach Ron Rivera and his players are excited about the big-game atmosphere, they said the condensed week presents challenges, especially preparing for New Yorks multiple pass-rush schemes.
Its going to be a big test for us, especially offensive line, left tackle Jordan Gross said. Theyre a great unit up front. Weve got a lot of work to do in a short amount of time. But well be ready.
Rivera said the Giants run lots of variations of their 4-3 scheme under defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, a Gastonia native who interviewed for the Panthers job before Rivera was hired.
Hes got some very athletic, very flexible guys. Its almost like playing a 3-4 defense philosophically, Rivera said. Theyve got some guys that can drop into coverage, can rush the passer, can peel if they have to in coverage. Weve got to be able to develop a feel and have a good understanding of what they want to do and when they want to do it. When youve got a short week, it cuts your preparation time.
Rivera said the trade-off for playing Thursday will be extra preparation time for the following opponent. The Panthers will travel to Atlanta for a Week 4 matchup with the Falcons on Sept. 30.
Its tough on two sides, for the players and for the coaches. But its all part of it, too. This part of the business brings more into focus in terms of highlighting a game, Rivera said. You highlight them on Thursday night, Monday night and Sunday night. This is becoming big and we know it is.
On the flip side, you get three extra days. If you use those three extra days properly as players and coaches, it can help you as well. It hurts you, but it can help you as well.
The Panthers came out of Sundays game without any major injuries. Linebacker Thomas Davis (hamstring) and offensive tackle Byron Bell (ankle) were at Bank of America Stadium to receive treatment Monday morning.
The NFL Networks trucks also showed up at the stadium Monday morning. In addition to the NFL Network, WSOC-TV will show the game locally.
The Giants avoided an 0-2 start Sunday when quarterback Eli Manning threw for 510 yards to spearhead a fourth-quarter comeback in a 41-34 win against Tampa Bay.
Thursdays game is a sellout, and Panthers players expect the home crowd to be loud. Middle linebacker Jon Beason said the Giants face a tougher task this week as the visiting team.
Im just glad were home. Theyre going to be traveling on Wednesday. So weve got that in our back pocket, Beason said. They had a tough win (Sunday). They didnt just go out and roll over Tampa. Tampa went up there and gave them (heck). So were happy about that.
Added Gross: Thank goodness were home. Our crowd was great (Sunday). I expect Thursday night to be a pretty special atmosphere. This is our biggest home game weve had in a while.
The Panthers have one more prime-time game scheduled Nov. 26 on Monday Night Football at Philadelphia. Rivera is hopeful one of the late-season games will be moved.
With its flexible scheduling plan, the league can move Sunday afternoon games to 8:20 p.m. the final seven weeks of the season.
Thats where we want to be, Rivera said. We want to be at the end of the year that we have a game or two flexed in prime time, which means weve done some good things and we have an opportunity.