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Giants vs. Bucs: 4 storylines leading up to Monday Night Football

Giants get another shot at Tampa Bay, and another chance for a signature 2021 victory

Las Vegas Raiders v New York Giants Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The New York Giants face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday, the third time in as many seasons that the Giants and Bucs will square off. Here are some storylines to watch.

Is the cavalry coming?

Here we are again, with the weekly Giants’ medical report. Who will be in and who will be out for the Giants on Monday night? The early news seems somewhat encouraging.

Saquon Barkley practiced Monday and it seems like he is on track to play for the first time since his unfortunate ankle sprain Week 5 against the Dallas Cowboys. Barkley has played in just seven of the Giants’ last 25 games.

Left tackle Andrew Thomas (foot/ankle) is eligible to come off injured reserve. Head coach Joe Judge said on Monday that Thomas has “been moving in the right direction,” but did not promise the second-year player would be ready for Monday.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (quad) is another player to watch this week.

The bye week should have also helped Kenny Golladay (knee) and Kadarius Toney get healthier.

Bad timing?

The Washington Football Team just had to go and upset the Buccaneers on Sunday, didn’t they? That’s two straight losses for the defending Super Bowl champions, called a “very dumb football team” by head coach Bruce Arians after that loss.

The Bucs are likely to be an angry team on Monday night, determined not to lose a third straight game. Especially one in front of a national TV audience.

“I would expect to see their best football of the year this (week), I really would,” Judge said. “I’ll expect to see Tom (Brady) play his best football, I’ll expect them to play their best defense as a team, best offense, best coaching job they’ve had. It’s a very, very talented roster. They won the championship last year for a reason.”

If the Bucs do that, the 3-6 Giants, a 10.5-point underdog per DraftKings Sportsbook, will be 3-7 at the end of the night.

DJ’s tiebreaker

In his first start, Jones created hysteria in the Giants’ universe by leading the Giants to a come-from-behind 32-31 victory over Tampa Bay. The Giants trailed 28-10 at halftime and Jones completed 23 of 36 passes for 336 yards and 2 touchdowns. He ran for the game-winning score with 1:16 remaining.

Last season, Jones threw a back-breaking interception with the Giants leading 17-15 and having driven to the Bucs’ 34-yard line with 12:46 to play. With Shaq Barrett draped all over him, Jones tried to unload the ball and Sean Murphy-Bunting picked it off. Tampa Bay took advantage by driving for a go-ahead touchdown, and went on to escape with a 25-23 victory.

Which DJ are we going to get this time?

Second chance

The Giants had an opportunity at a major Monday Night Football upset three weeks ago when they fell just short of beating the AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs, losing 20-17. Now, they get s shot at the Super Bowl champion Bucs.

If the Giants are going to have any chance of making a playoff push, they will need some unlikely victories. This would be one.