By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
Game 10 Preview: Giants Host Buccaneers
Introduction: The New York Giants are feeling good entering their matchup against the Tamp Bay Buccaneers this Sunday at Metlife Stadium. Fresh off their second win of the season in San Francisco, the Giants have a chance to win their first home game of the season, but it won’t be easy.
The Buccaneers are 3-6 in the NFC South and they have had their own share of quarterback controversy this season with Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Offensively, the Bucs are first in overall yards per game with 452.8; with 361.2 passing yards per game; which is also first in the league and 91.6 yards on the ground, currently ranked at 28th in the league. Fitzpatrick has been named the starter against the Giants and he will have three weapons that the Giants better be ready for and they are wide receivers Mike Evans (50/837/4), DeSean Jackson (33/693/4) and tight end O.J Howard (29/487/5). Defensively, the Bucs have struggled ranking 32nd overall in the league by surrendering 32.3 points per game.
Defending the pass has been their weakest link with 291.9 yards per game ranking them 29th overall and 15th overall against the run (108.1). The Bucs are led by linebacker Lavonte David (71 tackles) and former Giant Jason Pierre-Paul (8 sacks). Gerald McCoy has had a disappointing season, but he could have a breakout game against the Giants offensive line.
For the Giants, they are now 2-7 in the NFC east and their 344.8 yards per game puts them at 24th overall in the league with their Achilles Heel being in the running game averaging only 80 yards per game (31st) even with the talents of running back Saquon Barkley. The revamped offensive line with Jamon Brown at guard and Spencer Pulley at center seemed to have given the Giants a little hope against the 49ers, but they will be tested by the Buccaneers.
Defensively, the Giants are surrendering 25.3 points per game (20th) with their biggest problem being defending the run at 122.6 yards per game (25th). The departure of Damon Harrison has a lot to do with that as Dalvin Tomlinson needs to improve on defending the run.
Top 3 Matchups:
- Jason Pierre-Paul-vs-Nate Solder: JPP should have a little bit more motivation in this game and he will likely be lined up mostly against left tackle Nate Solder. If JPP plays like the 2011 or even the 2014 version in this game, Eli Manning will have a long day. Solder has been struggling lately and he needs to have his best game of the year this Sunday.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick-vs-Eli Manning: Statistically; Fitzpatrick has a big edge over Manning thus far this season. However; if Manning can stay close with Fitzpatrick and make big plays himself, the Giants could have a chance. The Bucs secondary is arguably their weakest link and Manning needs to exploit this and look to stretch the field.
- Giants offensive line-vs-Buccaneers defensive line: Battle in the trenches should be a big key matchup and one that could decide the game. The insertion of Spencer Pulley at center and Jamon Brown at right guard has given the Giants a little hope and that needs to continue Sunday. Despite showing improvement in the passing game, the Giants offensive line still failed to provide running lanes for Barkley and that needs to change.
Summary: The Giants must continue to move the ball and get the ball to their two most lethal weapons in Odell Beckham and Saquon Barkley. Beckham had a solid game against the 49ers, but it could have been better if Eli Manning threw to him more. The same could be said with Barkley who once again had a 100 yards combine game, but he wasn’t able to produce big plays and really showcase his talents. I expect Barkley to have a big game against the Buccaneers very similar to his game against the Eagles this season.
The Giants secondary will be tested deep and Landon Collins needs to do a better job against O.J Howard as he struggled against the 49ers tight end George Kittle. The weather shouldn’t be a factor as the forecast projects temperatures in the 40’s with little wind and sunshine. So expect both teams to move the ball offensively and put points on the board.
This game could resemble the Giants-Panthers game a few weeks back and it could be decided in the final 5 minutes of the game. Once the dust settles, I think the Giants will win the third game of the year, second in the row and their first home win of the season.