The Buccaneers are coming off back to back poor performances - with a bye week in between - and are looking to get things back on track against the 3-6 New York Giants. Although, they were supposed to beat the 2-6 Washington Football Team and we see how that worked out.
With the Buccaneers placing cornerback Richard Sherman on Injured Reserve all eyes are looking towards Sean Murphy-Bunting and a possible return. He’s been sporting a brace to support that injured elbow but has been involved in practices that last two weeks and is hoping to make his return soon.
Carlton Davis has also been spotted doing some light work with trainers this week, hopefully signaling that he’s getting closer to returning from his quad injury. As far as other injuries are concerned, Scotty Miller has been back at practice after missing significant time with a turf toe injury while Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski are still working their way back.
For the Bucs, the sooner Antonio Brown returns the better off they are - however now there are questions beyond his injury as to when, or if, he will return. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Brown allegedly tried to acquire a forged vaccination card in order to avoid COVID-19 protocols set forth by the NFL.
From a strictly football standpoint, with Brown on the field, the Buccaneers are 5-0 whereas they are 1-2 without him. They are also averaging seven points more per game when AB is playing. It’s more important that these players return once they’re fully healthy and Tampa Bay can prepare for another playoff run - but they have to ensure they get into the postseason before they can start to think about it.
As for the New York Giants it’s been a story of injuries and underwhelming performances for much of the year. Their big name acquisition in free agency - wide receiver Kenny Golladay - has been less than impressive. Golladay has 310 yards on 19 receptions with no touchdowns in six games this season. Not what Giants fans expected when Golladay signed a four year, $72M deal in the offseason. Instead, their leading receiver is rookie first round pick Kadarius Toney who has 352 yards on 28 receptions followed by Sterling Shepard with 324 yards on 32 receptions. Out of the three players, only Shepard has a receiving touchdown this season.
Daniel Jones has shown flashes this season - more so than in the recent past - as he is 190/293 for 2059 yards, eight touchdowns, five interceptions, and an additional two rushing touchdowns. He currently has his highest yards per attempt average of his career with 7.02.
Of course, the offense runs through Saquon Barkley. Or at least it’s supposed to. Barkley hasn’t played since week five when he suffered an ankle injury against the Dallas Cowboys. Barkley has been riddled with injuries throughout his short career and his status for Monday night is currently not known.
The Giants as a whole are 24th in the NFL in yards allowed with 372.4 - 19th in passing (249.9) and 22nd in rushing (122.6) - while sitting at 19th in scoring defense allowing 24 points per game. For reference, the Buccaneers are 18th, allowing 23.6.
This is the fourth year in a row - and the fifth time in six seasons - that the Buccaneers and Giants have met. The Giants hold the overall record at 16-8 while winning six of eight meetings in the last ten year. The Buccaneers won 25-23 last year in a prime time matchup.
Tom Brady has a personal vendetta against the Giants having lost two Super Bowls against them while Jason Pierre-Paul will of course be extra pumped for this game. Brady has not been part of a three game losing streak since 2002 - which, of course, was the year the Buccaneers won their first Super Bowl and the lone Super Bowl over a four year span that the Brady led New England Patriots did not win from 2001 through 2004.
The DraftKings Sportsbook currently has the Buccaneers as the favorite by 11 points, which is quite a large margin for a team that has lost two straight games, and has an over/under of 49.5. However, the Buccaneers play much better at home and average 40.5 points per game at home while scoring just 23.4 points per game on the road. Defensively, the Bucs are allowing 18.5 points per game at home but 27.6 points per game on the road. The Giants have covered in 13 of their last 14 games against NFC opponents and the last six games between these two teams have hit the over. Tampa Bay has also won seven straight games at Raymond James Stadium.
The Buccaneers and Giants will kickoff at Raymond James Stadium on Monday Night Football at 8:15 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast on ESPN with the announce crew of Steve Levy, Louis Riddick, and former Buccaneers quarterback Brian Griese. There is also the simulcast on ESPN 2 featuring Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning and two time Super Bowl champion Eli Manning who break down the game and have a different guest each quarter.