Do you have faith that the New York Giants will go into Tampa Sunday and defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Your Big Blue View staff writers do. This week's BBV staff predictions show a clean sweep, with all of your contributors picking the Giants to win today. Let's examine the reasoning.
Alex Sinclair (8-0)
The Giants are ready to make a statement. After a crazy ending to an even crazier game in New Orleans, this team are ready to steamroll somebody. I'm not saying that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won't put up a damn good fight, I'm just warning people that this is likely a Giants squad with some fire. They're going to play that angry-style of good.
By the time this goes live, you'll probably know more about the players possibly returning from injury than I do now, but some combination of Prince Amukamara, Jason Pierre-Paul and Jon Beason are suiting up on Sunday, then I'm all in on the Giants this week. I think their defense may still have difficulties, but with reinforcements, should hold up just fine. I'm picking Eli Manning and the offense to lead New York to an overdue victory against the NFC South.
Final score: Giants 30, Bucs 18
Chris Pflum (3-5)
This is a game the Giants can't afford to lose. They can't afford to peak ahead either, but I can, and while its within the realm of possibility that they beat the Patriots, it isn't very likely. So the Giants need this game to make sure they go into their bye week at .500.
Despite key injuries to Prince Amukamara, Jon Beason, and JT Thomas, the Giants might just get a defensive lift from the return of Jason Pierre-Paul, even if it is only an emotional lift. Whatever they lack in... Pretty much everything else, the Giants have the most opportunistic defense in the NFL. If they can continue to bring back their elite run defense and force Jameis Winston to carry the Bucs, there should be opportunities to take the ball away. We saw last week what kind of difference maker a fully healthy Odell Beckham is, and he should be able to get his against Lovie Smith's Tampa-2 defense, although it also remains to be seen how the Giants being forced to rely on the Will Tye and Jerome Cunningham as their only TE/H-back options.
Ultimately I'm picking the the team who is getting a pro-bowler back and going against a rookie quarterback, but I'm picking the Giants to win because they pretty much have to.
Final score: Giants 31, Buccaneers 20
Jesse Bartolis (5-3)
I like the Giants here for a couple of reasons, the biggest being that I'm a complete homer! For the plus side of the Giants there is the fact that despite how poor the defense has been they do create a lot of turnovers and Winston, though playing better is still a young quarterback who is certainly prone to turning the ball over and could create a scoring opportunity for the Giants in this game. Winston also has been sacked a lot compared to the number of pass attempts he has, has he's been sacked 14 times in only 210 attempts, (Eli has been sacked 12 in 300 attempts). I also think the Buccaneers strength in the passing game are big physical wide receivers and the Giants cornerbacks have good size, so that's not a huge concern. The Buccaneers also run the ball well, and the Giants have been competent against the rush (though very inconsistent) so that's a favorable matchup. But really it comes down to this Eli Manning v.s Jameis Winston? Who do you expect to win that game?
Pick: Giants (no score provided)
Mike Gallop (5-3)
All signs point to a shootout, with both teams' secondaries getting abused of late. Jameis Winston has shown vast improvement in the last month, and I'm worried that the Winston-Evans-Martin triumvirate is going to put up a lot of points on Sunday.
Luckily, I believe Eli stays hot on the road, and JPP provides an energy/emotional bump to the defense that we need to secure the W.
Final score: Giants 31, Bucs 24
Keane Macadaeg (4-4)
Jameis Winston has been a bit of a tear these past few games and which has led to a resurgent Tampa Bay offense that has averaged 30 points in their past three games. The Giants offense will try to have a surge of their own following a monstrous game against the New Orleans Saints. However, Tampa is around league average in every facet on defense which is quite a difference form the lowly Saints defense. The key to stopping the Giants offense is by having a strong front which Tampa doesn't quite have yet. They rank 17th in the league for sacks and if you give Eli Manning enough time, chances are the offense will do their job.
Defensively, it's tough to feel good about this group with injuries and a lack of depth killing the team. Even if JPP plays, which is a big question mark, will the Giants be able to generate pressure? The Giants need a pass rush in the worst way and they needed to find it 8 weeks ago. DRC and Prince Amukamara were able to mitigate the damage but without Amukamara, the secondary can only delay the inevitable. Unitl this defense finds a pass rush, then expect teams to move the ball at will. We're in line for another shootout but I have more faith in Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. over the rookie no matter how well he's been playing. Regardless, it's the Giants so for better or worse, expect a close game.
Final score: Giants 31, Bucs 24
Stephen Milewski (6-2)
Buccaneers' rookie quarterback Jameis Winston said this upcoming game with the Giants is "going to be tough," but this game may be tougher for the Giants than it is for him. While Winston is not of the same caliber as Drew Brees, he has been effective lately, not throwing any interceptions in his past three starts. If the Giants can turn the ball over, it will put them in a much better position to get the victory.
My X-Factor this week is Jason Pierre-Paul. His return has uplifted the spirits of the defense and he's shown he's ready to take the field soon. However, is Week 9 too soon? While he has looked exceptional in practice, his health is still a bit of a question mark and because he hasn't had any game action since last season, nobody really knows what to expect from JPP whenever he does get back onto the field. If he can play Sunday and successfully pressure Winston, it will help the Giants' mediocre pass rush tremendously.
As I said earlier, this game could come down to the turnover battle. No, Winston has not turned the ball over, but neither has Eli Manning lately. While the Giants do have a banged up, average-at-best secondary, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been playing incredibly of late and should be able to handle Winston's top option, Mike Evans. Therefore, Winston will have to look to his other targets, who I believe the Giants will be able to handle just enough. Also, I trust Manning to control the ball better than the rookie Winston, and adding on Tampa Bay's mind-numbing penalties (they are tied with the Buffalo Bills for most in the NFL this season), I think the Giants will come out on top.
Final Score: Giants 34, Buccaneers 24
Valentine's View (5-3)
A few weeks ago this was a game where you would have predicted an easy victory for the Giants. Not so now. It is, however, a game the Giants should win and one they absolutely need to win with the New England Patriots up next.
The Giants have walked on the precipice of disaster all season, and each time they have teetered on the ledge they have managed to pull themselves off. I think they do it again on Sunday.
Final score: Giants 37, Bucs 28
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