A winning streak? Could the New York Giants really defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday and have an honest-to-goodness winning streak? Here are the predictions from your Big Blue View contributors.
The New York Giants have their second opportunity of 2018 to go on a winning streak. But will they? Can their offense keep up with Ryan Fitzpatrick and the most dangerous passing attack in the NFL? Thanks to a furious quarter and a half of work from Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, and Sterling Shepard, the Giants were only just able to keep up with Nick Mullens, George Kittle, and Matt Brieda. If the Giants can square themselves with the futility of their running game and come out of the gates attacking Tampa Bay’s vulnerable secondary, they have a chance to put pressure on Fitzpatrick and make this a shootout.
Of course, after being lauded for its work against the 49ers, the Giants’ offensive line faces a significant jump in competition in Jason Pierre-Paul, Gerald McCoy, and perhaps Carl Nassib, who is questionable.
The Giants should be able to find extreme mismatches in the passing game, and they’ll need them. But the game might hinge on whether or not the Giants retreat into their schematic shell at the first hint of pressure, as has been tendency this season.
Final score: Buccaneers 28, Giants 24
Season record: 4-5
This should be a shootout. Both teams have bad defenses that have prone to giving up big plays. The Bucs have an offense that has proven it has the ability to score and the Giants have the personnel that should be able to score, though we’re going on the 11th week of saying that.
Tampa Bay will be without Lavonte David, which should open up the middle of the field for Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram in the passing game. The Bucs were already 28th against tight ends and 26th against running backs with him on the field, so losing him could be more catastrophic.
The problem is, the Giants have been almost as bad on defense going against an offense that has proven to be better. No team throws deeper down the field than Tampa Bay — Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick and first and second in Intended Air Yards this season per Next Gen Stats — and while the Giants are surprisingly sixth in DVOA against deep passes, they’re susceptible to the deep pass in the middle of the field, where Fitzpatrick has been at his best. The Giants are also 31st in DVOA defending short passes up the middle, so beware of tight end O.J. Howard and slot receiver Adam Humphries (potentially Chris Godwin too, but he’s questionable).
There’s also the problem of the Giants pass rush, where the problem is it doesn’t really exist. When kept clean, Ryan Fitzpatrick has averaged 10.5 yards per attempt. That drops to 7.1 when he gets hit. The Giants haven’t shown enough in the pass rush to suggest disrupting Tampa Bay’s passing game is something to count on. That could make it too difficult to stop the Buccaneers from scoring.
Final score: Buccaneers 34, Giants 28
Season record: 7-2
OK, so last week I couldn’t bring myself to pick the Giants, and they made me look foolish. But you know what? I still can’t take that leap of faith just yet off one game.
While I recognize that there is a lot more energy coming from the team and they have their confidence up, they’re going against a better offense this week and they are also facing a very motivated Jason Pierre-Paul who has shown that when he gets the inkling to turn it up, he can be unstoppable.
I don’t like the matchups between the Bucs offense and the Giants defense. If you thought George Kittle destroyed the Giants defensive secondary, wait until O.J. Howard takes the field.
And if you thought the Giants had trouble getting to Nick Mullens, well, crafty veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t going to be fooled as easily with the Giants tactic used last week of having the defense hang around the line of scrimmage the way it did at times against the 49ers.
Bottom line? I suspect the Bucs’ are going to feed off of JPP’s energy and top the Giants who continue to struggle to find ways to win at home.
Final score: Buccaneers 24, Giants 17
Season record: 3-6
Like anyone picking this game, I am perplexed. The Giants have successfully begun their journey to 9-7, just like Odell Beckham Jr. predicted. They finally played a complete game against a beatable opponent. Now they are faced with another opportunity to pick off a vulnerable squad. However, this Buccaneers squad is supported by a lethal offense. The outcome of this game is up in the air, depending on how well they carry their momentum into this game.
Tampa Bay has been a wildly inconsistent team, headed by two below average quarterbacks. Despite having Ryan Fitzpatrick of all people produce most of their offense, they have been the most productive offensive team in the league. The Giants need to pressure Fitzpatrick and force turnovers to keep the ball out of the hands of the Bucs play makers.
On defense, the Bucs have been absolute garbage. Having one of the most vulnerable pass defenses in the NFL, they have surrendered copious amounts of yards to multiple teams. You can expect the Giants to throw the ball early and often to attack this weakness.
Ultimately, this game will be a sure fired shootout. The Giants will win a close, yet high-scoring game.
Final score: Giants 45, Buccaneers 38
Season record: 4-5
This matchup is an odd one for me.
Looking at how both teams have fared over the past few weeks, one might think that the Giants would be the team people would be picking to win. But looking around at the rest of the writers here at BBV, as well as the FanPulse numbers, it seems that others are not confident in the Giants.
It is true that the Buccaneers have a ton of offensive weaponry. But those weapons are only as good as the trigger-man allows them to be. The early FitzMagic has waned, and it begins with Ryan Fitzpatrick’s eyes. His ability to manipulate defenders that was on display in the early weeks has not shown up over his past two starts, and he’s thrown four interceptions.
The Giants defense is going to get him to throw one or two more.
Final score: Giants 24, Buccaneers 10
Season record: 4-5
The Giants, Eli Manning included, looked much improved last week against a hobbled San Fransisco 49ers bunch. The most important thing that I took away from the win was not just the win but the effort and will to win by a team that struggled to find it all season. The effort alone last week should have me believing in the Giants but it doesn’t. This game will come down to the final five or so minutes of the game but I think Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Buccaneers’ talented offense will be too much for Big Blue.
Final score: Buccaneers 24, Giants 21
Season record: 5-3
There are plenty of reasons to be concerned Sunday when looking at this matchup from a Giants’ perspective. Jason Pierre-Paul is out to bring the house down and make Eli Manning pay for the Giants no longer wanting to pay him. The Bucs’ plethora of receiving options will be a headache for the Giants, especially if they continue to be unable to rush the passer. The Giants are 0-4 at home.
Still ... things have to get better at some point. Don’t they?
Yes, Monday was only a narrow victory over a bad team. Still, it was a victory accomplished on the road with an impressive last-minute drive. A lot of good things happened for the Giants in all phases of the game. If felt like progress, the kind of game a team can begin to build on.
Maybe I’m just being hopeful, but I think the Giants find a way to do just that.
Final score: Giants 34, Bucs 31
Season record: 4-5
Fifteen percent of Giants’ fans voting in our weekly ‘FanPulse’ survey are confident in the direction of the team. This is up just a little.