EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Once they got cozy in their new digs, the New York Giants weren't about to let Carolina spoil their homecoming.
Did they ever.
"We'll learn from what we did wrong and capitalize on it next week," Nicks said.
But Carolina couldn't match New York in the second half this time before 77,245 fans -- considered a sellout despite the unusual sight of hundreds of empty seats in the $1.6 billion New Meadowlands Stadium. The Giants could not sell all the club seats, which don't count under league blackout rules.
"It was a good win," guard Rich Seubert said. "Everybody knew what happened against them last season. It's always good when you open a new place, the new Giants Stadium, and get a win in it. It is going to be remembered for a long time."
Nicks finished with four catches for 75 yards, while Manning went 20 for 30 for 263 yards. But he also was picked off three times.
"Like all openers, everybody struggles to some degree," said Panthers coach John Fox, who in the final year of his contract doesn't need such collapses by his team. "The first half, we did some decent things in the pass game. As they game wore on, it got more in their advantage. There's no question they made more plays than we did. We made a few more mistakes than they did."
The opener hardly was a classic, often matching the gloomy weather and gray colors that dominate the stadium that already has hosted concerts, international soccer matches and preseason football.
New York turned a botched snap on a Carolina punt into seven points as Nicks caught his third TD pass late in the third quarter for a 24-16 lead. The second-year receiver already has half as many touchdowns as he scored as a rookie.
The Giants had taken the lead for good on Lawrence Tynes' 31-yard field goal earlier in the period, a series kept alive by Manning's quarterback sneak to gain the necessary few inches on fourth down.
Although 30 points were scored in the opening half, neither offense was particularly sharp. Each side made some big plays through the air, but so did the defenses, with Carolina's Charles Godfrey and New York's Deon Grant each making interceptions.
John Kasay had field goals of 21, 52 and 43 yards. New York offset that thanks mostly to the Manning to Nicks connection, which produced touchdowns of 26 and 19 yards.
For New York, the second-half stinginess was a welcome change from the final two games of 2009, when the Giants yielded 80 points.
Notes: The Giants, who opened last season 5-0 before slumping to 8-8, lost tight end Kevin Boss (neck/concussion) and special teams captain Chase Blackburn (right knee). In addition to Moore, Panthers WR Charly Martin sustained a concussion. Placekicker Todd Carter suffered back spasms ... Carolina's only second-half points came when Greg Hardy blocked a punt through the end zone for a safety with 3:57 to go.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press