The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-2) head to the Meadowlands to take on the New York Giants (1-6) on Monday Night Football. The Bucs have won two straight and are looking to keep rolling through their schedule, but just because the Giants have one win doesn’t mean they need to be taken lightly.
- All-time series: The Giants lead, 16-7.
- Longest win streak: New York won five games in a row from 2006-2015.
- Largest margin of victory: Tampa Bay handed the Giants a 31-3 beatdown back in 1979.
- 2020 offensive and defensive rankings: Tampa Bay currently boasts the 18th-best offense in the NFL (13th passing, 24th rushing) and the league’s top-rated defense (7th passing, 1st rushing). New York is dead last in total offense (30th passing, 27th rushing) and ninth in total defense (18th passing, 7th rushing).
**Offensive and defensive rankings include games played on 11/1/20**
What To Watch For
- Continuing to play mistake-free football: The Bucs have looked like a completely different team in terms of discipline over the last couple of weeks. Tampa Bay has committed just four penalties over the last two games compared to 8.4 per game over the previous five games. Is this a trend or more of the exception to the rule? Monday night’s performance will certainly give us a good idea.
- Mike Evans vs. James Bradberry: These two have gone at it seven times since the 2016 season, with Bradberry winning the majority of the matchups. The Bucs will need Evans to reverse history on Monday Night Football, especially with Chris Godwin out.
- Tampa Bay’s front seven vs. New York’s offensive line: Yea, this could get ugly really quick. The Giants are having major issues at the tackle spots. Rookie Andrew Thomas and former Patriot Cameron Fleming are essentially swinging doors and have allowed 10 combined sacks and 57 combined pressures on the year. You think Devin White and co. don’t realize this? Tampa Bay’s pass rush should have a big night.
- The Giants’ defense: This is actually a pretty underrated unit. It can stop the run and get after the quarterback, which is obviously two very important attributes on defense. If the offense could just be somewhat-average, it could be a top-10 unit.
- The Bucs’ offensive line vs. the Giants’ defensive line: Tampa Bay’s front five have been playing good football over the last two weeks, but the Giants’ defensive line could really put the unit to the test. The trio of Leonard Williams, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Dexter Lawrence is one of the league’s better ensembles up front.
- QB Tom Brady: Everything is moving along nicely and the offense is beginning to look better each week. Brady is the main reason for this and will continue his progress (and the offense’s progress) on Monday night.
- Bucs’ running backs: I don’t know who will get more playing time between Ronald Jones II and Leonard Fournette, but whomever has the “hot hand” needs to be a factor.
- TE Rob Gronkowski: He really looks like he’s heating up. That’s scary if so.
- OLB Shaquil Barrett: Last year’s sack leader has been quiet since the Denver game. Remember last year’s game against the Giants? Yea. Shaq will be a big factor in this one, too.
- OLB Jason Pierre-Paul: See above. Tampa Bay’s pass rushers should feast against this offensive line.
- CB Carlton Davis III: The third-year corner is starting to take off and will look to shutdown yet another opponent in New York.
New York Giants
- QB Daniel Jones: The Giants’ second-year quarterback has not been good in 2020, but it’s not just about him. The entire offense has a myriad of problems and will have a tough time getting on track against this defense if Jones doesn’t step it up.
- Giants’ running backs: We don’t really know who will be the guy in terms of carries, but that’s because all of the top backs are hurt. Can the combo of Dion Lewis and Wayne Gallman get it done?
- WR Sterling Shepard: He caught a touchdown in his first game back from injury against the Eagles. Will Shepard continue to be the primary target for Jones?
- DL Dalvin Tomlinson: The Giants have a pretty stout defensive line. All three players are good to very good in their own right, but Tomlinson is arguably the best. He’s a force in the run game and can push the middle of the pocket, as well.
- OLB Kyler Fackrell: The former Packer currently leads the team in sacks (3.0), tackles for loss (6), tied for the team lead with one forced fumble, and is tied for second on the team with one interception. He’s been a playmaker so far and will need to be contained on Monday.
- CB James Bradberry: For some reason, Bradberry didn’t get as much attention in free agency as he should have, but regardless, he’s showing why the Giants brought him in with a team-leading three interceptions. Those three interceptions are also tied for the second-most in the NFL.
- White is the only player in the NFL with 50+ tackles and 3.0 sacks so far in 2020.
- Dating back to the 2019 season, the Buccaneers have held 13 consecutive opponents under 100 rushing yards, a franchise record and tied for the third-longest streak in the NFL since the 1970 merger. If Tampa Bay holds the Giants under 100 rushing yards, it will tie for the second-longest streak in the NFL since the merger (Baltimore Ravens, 14 games, 11/5/00-10/28/01).
- The Buccaneers scored 45 points at Las Vegas. With at least 45 points at New York, it would mark the first time in franchise history the team has posted consecutive games with at least 45 points. Tampa Bay would be the first team in the NFL to do so since 2018 (New Orleans Saints, three games, 11/4/18-11/18/18)
- The Buccaneers have scored 222 points this season and need five more to pass 2012 (226), eight more to pass 2018 (229) and nine more to pass 2019 (230) for the most points scored through eight games in franchise history.
- With a win at New York, Tampa Bay would match the best record through eight games in franchise history (6-2), accomplished twice before (1979, 2002).
If Tampa Bay takes care of business, then this should be the easiest win of the season. However, the Bucs could find themselves in trouble if they come out and mess around.
The Giants just simply don’t have enough on offense to hang with the Bucs, but the Giants’ defense is capable of making plays and can keep the team in the game if the Bucs aren’t focused.
It looks as if the Bucs have shed their disappointing ways of the past based off the last couple of weeks. If that’s truly the case —which I believe it to be— then it’s not unreasonable to expect a multi-score win on Monday Night Football.
Regardless, the Bucs should be 6-2 as they enter their Sunday night showdown with the Saints in Week 9.