The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming off one of the weirdest games of the season. They also set another NFL record (not a good one). Their tumble continues as they have now lost six of their last seven games. This week they take on one of the worst teams in the NFL, the New York Giants. While their record isn’t good, they do have a roster with a few Pro-Bowl caliber players. The Giants are coming off a Monday night win, putting them at 2-7 on the season. Let’s see who the Bucs should be looking at if they want to get back in the win column.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are sticking with Ryan Fitzpatrick again, for some reason, this week after a tough home loss. The Buccaneers put up over 500 yards of total offense but failed to reach the end zone once. With four turnovers and two missed field goals, the usually potent offense failed to score when the defense had their best game of the season. It’s no surprise that Dirk Koetter took over play calling this week (because the Bucs red zone offense was never as good with him calling plays). Not all of it is Dirk’s fault, with fumbles, drops, and missed kicks there are multiple names to blame for this loss.
It’s hard to win when you lose the turnover battle. The Bucs have learned that the hard way without recording a turnover in six straight games. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers still have the league-worst turnover differential, -19, and are on pace to set another NFL record. The Giants turn the ball over occasionally but have some playmakers on defense to force turnovers. The Giants are a much better team than their record indicates, but so are the Bucs. This week is a battle of the bad, but let’s see who can be worse less often.
The Giants offense has stud receivers and one of the most talented running backs in the league. However, their offensive line is putrid and Eli Manning would’ve been replaced if he wasn’t Eli Manning. The G-Men rank 24th in yards per game, 15th passing 31st rushing, and are scoring less than 20 points per game. The Giants offensive line has surrendered the 3rd most sacks, 32, and Eli Manning has less mobility than usual this season.
The Buccaneers defense is coming off their best game of the season allowing only one touchdown and 16 total points. For a team that was allowing 414 yards per game, they held the Redskins to 286 total yards and only 170 passing. While the Redskins offense is not the best in the league by a longshot, Sunday was still a big step for the young defense. The Bucs had three sacks, but it came against an offensive line that was missing four starters, which is not very impressive. The Giants offensive line starters are probably not much better so there is potential for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to learn from their mistakes and bring some pressure, especially against a much less mobile quarterback. Not to mention, Jason Pierre Paul will get his first opportunity at the team that traded him.
The New York Giants may not be racking up the yards on the ground star rookie running back, Saquon Barkley has 586 rushing and 530 receiving yards this season. A dual threat, Saquon, has seven total touchdowns this season too. One of the front-runners for rookie of the year Saquon is proving worthy of a top pick. While the Giants clearly need a quarterback for the future, they seem to have locked down one of the top running backs in the league.
Outside of Saquon Barkley, the Giants have 134 rushing yards, with no players having more than 60 yards. Jonathan Stewart was supposed to be the guy splitting with Barkley but he was placed on injured reserve after Week 3. Second-year running back Wayne Gallman was a stud at Clemson but he’s not getting much of an opportunity with this squad. The Giants running game as a whole might not be a threat, but the Bucs can’t forget about on Saquon on Sunday.
The Giants have a great receiving core with one of the best receivers in the league in Odell Beckham Jr. Odell. That being said, Odell isn’t the only receiver, Sterling Shepherd is having a solid season with 551 yards and the game-winning touchdown against the 49ers. Beckham is putting up his standard numbers with 858 yards and four touchdowns. Odell has yet to have less than four catches in a game this year and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass defense is very susceptible to giving up big plays. They don’t have a corner fast or capable enough to keep up with Odell so look for him to have another big game.
The Bucs should also be aware of the Giants tight end. Drafted behind OJ Howard in last years draft, Evan Engram is a big threat over the middle. More like a wide receiver than an actual tight end Engram has been productive in the games he’s played in this year. While he missed nearly a month of the season with an injury, when targeted he can make plays. He has 8 career touchdowns, only two this season, but should not be left alone. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers surrender 75 yards per game to tight ends so Engram could be in for a big day.
The Giants defense is ranked 22nd in the NFL with 367.2 yards per game. They rank 18th against the pass, 244.7, and 25th against the run, 122.6 yards per game. Opposing defenses have struggled to stop the Bucs through the air but the Bucs are the only thing keeping themselves from scoring.
The Giants defense is not without big names either. Landon Collins, Alec Ogletree, Janoris Jenkins, and Olivier Vernon are all pro-bowl caliber players. They did trade away their best defensive tackle, Damon “Snacks” Harrison at the trade deadline, and almost traded away Collins too. The Giants know they are rebuilding but they can still win games.
Landon Collins leads the team with 71 tackles. Janoris Jenkins leads the team with two interceptions and seven passes defended. The biggest issue with the defense is the pass rush. The Giants don’t have anyone with more than two sacks and only the Oakland Raiders have fewer sacks. The offensive line should look for a bounce-back game after allowing Ryan Fitzpatrick to get hit a lot which led to two fumbles against the Redskins.
GIANTS SPECIAL TEAMS
The New York Giants have one of the better special teams units in the NFL. Kicker Aldrick Rosas is 19/20 on field goals this year, fourth-most in the NFL with the third highest percentage. He has not missed from inside 49 yards this year, his lone miss was from beyond 50. He is a perfect 12/12 on extra points too. He’s been very consistent this year and when on the field the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should not expect him to miss.
The Giants punter Riley Dixon ranks 6th in net yards per punt. With 47.1 yards per punt and 43.6 net yards, he really helps the offense flip the field. 16 of his punts have been returned but returners only gain 8.1 yards per return. Giants have punted 40 times this year, 4.4 times per game, but make the most of each one.
The Giants special team unit is excellent. They get the job done more effectively than most. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will trot out yet another kicker this week. The Giants, it seems, have found their long term answer.