Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, FL)
FOX (Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber, Tiki Barber, Sara Walsh), Sunday, Sept. 22, 4:00 PM EDT
This will be the 23rd all-time meeting between the Giants and Buccaneers, 22nd in the regular season. The Giants lead the all-time series 15-7 (14-7 regular season, 1-0 postseason) and have won six of the last eight games including a 38-35 win at MetLife Stadium in Week 11 last season.
Buccaneers by 6.5
GIANTS INJURY REPORT
BUCCANEERS INJURY REPORT
WHAT IS ON THE LINE
GIANTS: The Giants are 0-2 for the sixth time in seven seasons. They finished below .500 in five of the previous six seasons they began with two losses. Naturally, there is no such thing as a must-win game in Week 3. However, the Giants need a win to galvanize the team as well as their fan base after all the headlines of the past week.
BUCCANEERS: Tampa enters Week 3 in a three-way tie for first place in the NFC South. Injuries to both Drew Brees and Cam Newton could mean the division is wide open. A victory will help the Bucs’ push for their first postseason berth since the 2007 season.
Evans and Godwin torched the Panthers secondary with a combined 12 receptions for 182 yards and a touchdown in Week 2. They will face a Giants secondary that has allowed 321 yards per game. In addition, they only have four passes breakups and no interceptions. If Evans and Godwin get going, it could be a long day for the Giants
HOW THE GIANTS WILL WIN THE GAME
Daniel Jones will become the third of 11 quarterbacks selected in the 2019 NFL Draft to start a game in 2019 but this isn’t his NFL regular season debut. That came on the final drive of the Week 1 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Jones had an outstanding preseason, going 29-of-34 for 416 yards and two touchdowns with a quarterback rating of 137.3.
When he takes the field against Tampa, Jones will be the 14th quarterback to make his first NFL start in a Giants uniform since the 1970 AFL/NFL merger. The previous 13 have a record of 7-6.
The Giants offense shouldn’t really change much now that Jones is the starter. Although he is a pocket passer in the same vein as Eli Manning, Jones is more mobile. There won’t be any designed running plays but he can throw out of a scramble. Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles loves to blitz so there could be some lanes open for Jones on the ground.
The Giants will need to get the passing game going early. They will miss Latimer (who is second in receptions with 10) but will have the services of Sterling Shepard, who was in concussion protocol last week. Rookie Darius Slayton, a fifth-round pick, will make his NFL debut after missing the entire preseason and first two regular season games with a hamstring injury.
Look the Giants to target Evan Engram. The Bucs defense has had difficulty containing tight ends thus far. George Kittle led the San Francisco 49ers in receptions (eight) and yards (54) in Week 1. Greg Olsen had six receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown last week.
The Giants defense hasn’t generated a turnover through two games. Jameis Winston has thrown the most interceptions in the NFL (61) since he entered the league in the 2015 season. In that time span, the Bucs have 121 turnovers as a team. He has three picks so far as well as two fumbles. The Bucs are struggling from the tackle positions on the offensive line. If the Giants can manufacture a pass rush, they could force Winston into mistakes and get the ball back for the offense.
HOW THE BUCCANEERS WILL WIN THE GAME
Winston is turnover prone but he didn’t have any against Carolina. The Giants faced Josh Allen in Week 2 and didn’t force a turnover despite Allen coughing the ball up four times in the previous week. He has productive receivers at his disposal in Evans, Godwin, and O.J. Howard to go along the running back tandem of Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones.
The Giants haven’t been able to stop in anyone in the air. Teams have been able to run on them with increasing success. The Cowboys gained 87 yards on 26 carries in Week 1 while Frank Gore and rookie Devin Singletary had a combined 125 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries in Week 2. The Bucs’ coaching staff prefers to go with the back that has the hot hand (Jones was the Bucs’ leading rusher in Week 1 while Jones was tops in Week 2.)
Winston has had success against the Giants. After relieving starter Ryan Fitzpatrick in the third quarter of last year’s game, he led four consecutive touchdown drives as the Bucs nearly pulled off the comeback win. He has a 101.1 passer rating with five touchdowns and one interception in three career games against the Giants.
The Bucs defense has been better than advertised. Outside linebacker Shaq Barrett had three sacks against Carolina and was named NFC Defense Player of the Week. Barrett was able to get to the quarterback because of the interior line play of Ndamukong Suh and Vita Vea. Suh and Vea command double teams that leave players like Barrett and outside linebacker Carl Nassib open.
The Bucs will have to keep Saquon Barkley in check as a runner and in the passing game. In Week 2, they limited Christian McCaffrey to just 37 yards rushing on 16 carries and two receptions for six yards. Barkley has 227 rushing yards and a touchdown on 29 carries and seven receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown.
WHO WILL WIN THE GAME?
The Giants will rally behind their 22-year-old quarterback and there will be a level of energy injected into the team. However, the team’s problems go well beyond the quarterback position. Specifically, the defense cannot stop anyone from scoring. They have demonstrated an inability to get off the field. In Tampa, the Giants are facing an opponent that has almost beat them last season with a late game comeback. The last two games were decided by a combined five points. Despite the change in quarterback, the Giants will lose a close one.