In roughly 48 hours, the New York Giants will take on the Carolina Panthers in the first official game at the New Meadowlands Stadium. What are some keys to the game and which players should fans be watching out for?

What to Watch For: Carolina Running Game Vs. New York Run Defense

Jonathan Stewart toasted the Giants for 209 yards on the ground in the final game at the ‘Old’ Meadowlands Stadium as the Panthers embarrassed the Giants, 44-9. Backfield mate and stud runningback DeAngelo Williams (who is entering a contract year) did not play in the game. The Giants brought in defensive coordinator, Perry Fewell from Buffalo to shore up the defense. Carolina boasted one of the three best ground games in the NFL last year, cranking out over 150 yards per game. The Giant defense held opponents to 111 rushing yards, which isn’t what we expect from the stout Big Blue defense. Key an eye on middle linebacker, Jonathan Goff. Goff’s ability to make plays in space may be the key to this game.

Key Players: Steve Smith (CAR), Brandon Jacobs

The Carolina version of Steve Smith is out for revenge. Michael Johnson, now the fourth string safety, broke Smith’s arm late in the Carolina blowout win last season. Smith has vowed to destroy the Giants secondary. Remember, all of this talk is coming from a guy who broke his arm playing flag football in July.

We all know Brandon Jacobs is upset. He wants to be first on the depth chart, blah blah blah. But now, Jacobs is motivated. Expect Jacobs to run the ball like a man possessed. The Giants ground game will set up Eli Manning and the rest of the Giants’ aerial attack.

Vegas’ Take: Las Vegas has the Giants pegged a seven-point favorite.

Prediction: The Giants will win the first game at the New House. I expect this game to be very closely contested as the Panthers’ running game is extremely underrated. However, if the Giants can put pressure on quarterback Matt Moore (only eight career starts) and force him into mistakes, the Giants will win big. Defense is key for Big Blue this year. A strong Week 1 showing will give the players and fans confidence heading into next week’s tilt at Indianapolis.

Giants 27

Panthers 21