The odds are against Big Blue this game. Brady and the Bucs are 5-2, but the Giants since wearing their color rush/throwback jerseys have been 0-4. The only team Daniel Jones has beaten other than the Washington Football Team is the Bucs. The Giants won a nailbiter against them in his first start last year, 32-31.
To hop back in the divisional race, the Giants need to win this game against one of the best teams in the NFC with talent on both sides of the ball.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
A couple of names come to mind when you think of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense. Tom Brady, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Leonard Fournette, Rob Gronkowski, and now Antonio Brown. Brown will be serving his suspension until Week 9, while Godwin is currently injured. However, the remaining names are still dangerous.
The Bucs’ offense is currently 15th in total yards per game, 8th in passing yards per game, 21st in rushing yards per game, and 3rd in points per game. Tampa Bay is currently 11th in pass rate.
Compared to the dried out Tom Brady Patriots fans saw last year, the 42-year-old quarterback has been reborn. Brady currently has thrown 18 touchdowns compared to 4 interceptions. Two of them in his debut against the Saints. Most of his touchdowns have been thrown to Mike Evans.
One of the keys for the Bucs to win is to attack Ryan Lewis and Devante Downs. Lewis will likely cover Scotty Miller or Tyler Johnson. James Bradberry will continue to travel the number one wide receiver (Evans). Both saw a lot of each other when Bradberry played for the Carolina Panthers in the past.
Both Devante Downs and Darnay Holmes have struggled this year. They could be asked to cover Rob Gronkowski. Brady targeted Gronkowski heavily in the last three games for the Bucs. Not to mention Downs and Holmes are both undersized, compared to the 6-6 tight end.
Giving the ball to Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones II will be key. However, the Giants have sunk to the near-bottom of the league in pass defense thanks to the holes at the CB2 and LB2 position.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defense is better than anticipated this year. The first best run defense and the 3rd best pass defense coordinated by former New York Jets’ head coach Todd Bowles. The pass-rush is the same if not better than last year. Former Giant Jason Pierre-Paul leads the team with 5.5 sacks. Carlton Davis has developed into one of the better cornerbacks in the league and leads the team with three interceptions. Jamal Dean also has contributed to the lockdown secondary.
One day of practice for the offensive line could hurt the team, although they have been among the league’s worst all year. Shaq Barrett totaled three sacks against the Giants last year. Notably Nate Solder. Andrew Thomas gave up six sacks and 37 pressures in the first seven games of his career. Nick Gates is still working at the center position as Cameron Fleming is mightily struggling on the opposite side of Thomas. Shane Lemieux will likely make his first NFL start at left guard for Big Blue. Not to mention, Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard are Jones’ only weapons right now.
Daniel Jones has thrown seven picks and fumbled five times this season. Forcing Jones into a mistake, then hogging the time of possession will be the Bucs priority. But it starts by stopping Daniel Jones and forcing a mistake.
New York Giants
Many cannot remember when the last time the Giants’ offense was as horrible as it is now. Multiple turnovers by Daniel Jones, no separation from the wide receivers, and an offensive line that plays at the bottom-tier of the league.
The toughest task will be trying to move downfield. The Buccaneers have the best run defense and the 3rd best passing defense. For the Giants to succeed, offensive coordinator Jason Garrett will have to get creative with his play calls. Whether it is more quick passes, play-action passes, or creative end-arounds, it needs to work.
Then it will be down for the offense to execute. Shaq Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Ndamukong Suh are going to be sack hungry against an offensive line that has allowed 20 sacks in seven games. 5th-round rookie Lemieux is likely going to make his first start at left guard and will experience some struggles against a tough Bucs’ D-Line. Andrew Thomas is not going to have an easy night against either of the rushers. The same with Cameron Fleming.
If the Giants stay aggressive on offense, go for 4th-downs, protect Daniel Jones, and get the football out quick, they will be in the game closer than any other matchup they have had this season.
James Bradberry against Mike Evans is not the Giants’ biggest worry. Tom Brady targeting Tyler Johnson, Rob Gronkowski, or Scotty Miller will likely be dangerous, considering the CB2 and LB2 positions are gaping holes for Big Blue. It also does not help that Julian Love is struggling at the free safety position.
Other than this season, covering TEs has hurt the Giants in the past. Unless Big Blue comes up with a double-team on Gronkowski, nobody will be able to cover the monster TE.
The run defense will be key for the Giants to make Brady & the Bucs one-dimensional. Tampa Bay is 21st in rushing offense. Blake Martinez, Leonard Williams, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Dexter Lawrence have to penetrate the opposing offensive line to stop Ronald Jones II or Leonard Fournette from having a monster game. Pressuring Brady will also be on Patrick Graham’s to-do list.
Mike Evans may have a couple of good plays, but covering Gronkowski will be a high priority. Unless the defense keeps Brady’s passing game at an average level, it will be a long day for the Giants in terms of the time of possession.
This is by far one of the toughest matchups for the New York Giants this season. The Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, and Baltimore Ravens are still upcoming matchups. However, the Giants do not stand a chance against those teams unless they play to the level of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.