By: Maximilian Carroll
Spread: Tampa Bay (-4)
Kickoff: 4:05 EST, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
These are two teams with an obvious difference in aspirations. The Giants are coming of two losses that, honestly, made them look like they were headed for another 3- or 4-win season. The Buccaneers look like they could take advantage of a wide-open NFC South. Can the Bucs take advantage of the recent shake-up in the NFC South?
New York Giants
The day, many of us have been dreading is upon us, the Giants have benched Quarterback Eli Manning. I remember it like it was yesterday, watching the Giants trade 2 first rounds picks to get this unimposing young man from Ole Miss. Nothing will ever be the same after this day, Eli has brought so much frustration and anger, yet some of the greatest joy I’ve ever had in my life. Now with the benching of Eli, this marks a changing of the guard, end of an era, and the death of my childhood. On Sunday the Giants turn to first round pick Daniel Jones at Quarterback. This will be his first career start, and the Giants will look to take advantage of the Jones athletic ability by changing the offense to a RPO (Run Pass Option) style. Saquon Barkley continues to take the league by storm, as he bides to be the best Running Back in the NFL. Already on the season he has 227 yards, a blistering 7.8 yards a carry, and a touchdown. Look for the Giants to give Barkley the ball as often as possible. The Giants receiving core is a mess, and will still be missing Golden Tate due to suspension, but get Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard back. It also looks like the Giants will be without Wide Receiver Cody Lattimore and Receiver Bennie Fowler is questionable for the game. Rookie fifth round draft pick Darius Slayton will get his first NFL action with these injuries. On defense the Giants are a joke, and ranked 30th in points against. The secondary has allowed 642 yards passing, and rookie Cornerback Deandre Baker has struggled the most so far on the season. Look for the Bucs to take advantage of the rookie, and force him into man coverage looks. So as you watch this game remember to pour one out for Eli, and the Giants season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The bottom line here is that the buccaneers have Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. To be completely honest the Giants have no one that can cover these two. Winston is a turnover machine, but he doesn’t need to be a huge part of the offense in order for the Bucs to win this game. They have been a top 10 defense overall and have been the 7th ranked run defense. I don’t necessarily believe that they will be able to stop Barkley, but the pass defense should be enough to keep Daniel Jones form making a huge impact. Although its hard to imagine the Giants moving on from Eli, it’s clear that Jones is the best option at this point. The Bucs defense shouldn’t have a problem with the Giants receiving core. They will be without Lattimore and Fowler, as mentioned earlier, which just puts more stress on Jones. The spread here should be an easy cover for the Bucs at home.
Analysis and Prediction
I really don’t see how the Giants could cover this game. The Bucs are the home squad and I believe their defense has been under appreciated. It’ll be tough to see Eli on the sidelines, but nonetheless, the Bucs will be prepared. Look for Daniel Jones to struggle in his first NFL start, despite having Barkley in his back pocket. Give me the Bucs -4!