NFL Preview: New York Giants @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Bucs to bounce back against Big Blue

Tampa Bay Buccaneers will look to put two straight losses behind them when they host the New York Giants on the latest instalment of Monday Night Football. Planet Sport previews the NFC matchup.

After a Sunday that saw a number of shock results, we're back with an in-depth look at a huge game on Monday Night Football.

The reigning Super Bowl champions are reeling after consecutive losses to the New Orleans Saints and the Washington Football Team, but they have a perfect bounce-back opportunity at home to an inconsistent New York Giants.

When: November 22nd, 2021 - 01:15 (BST)

Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa

How to watch: NFL Game Pass / Sky Sports NFL

Best bets

Over 51.5 points - 11/10

Tampa Bay Buccaneers over 32.5 points - 5/4

New York Giants over 20.5 points - 5/4

Background: New York Giants @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mike Evans (L) leads Buccaneers receivers with nine touchdowns on the season

After a 6-1 start it looked like Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had picked up exactly where they left off following their Super Bowl-winning 2020 season, but two losses later and the sea is getting choppier for the Buccaneers.

And, while a loss to division rivals New Orleans was not the biggest surprise in the world, a 29-19 reverse at Washington last time out certainly was, and questions are being asked of the Bucs as we head into the second half of the campaign.

Predictably, Head Coach Bruce Arians pulled no punches immediately after that encounter, calling his side "a very dumb football team" and then doubled down later in the week by saying that his side "lacked passion".

The latter comment in particular will have reverberated round the Bucs locker room and we're expecting a marked improvement in their performance on Monday night against the Giants.

The visitors are the polar opposite of Tampa in that they are in the midst of their best run of the season, with two wins from their last three games and their only loss in that period being a narrow one against the resurgent Chiefs.

Last time out the Giants defeated the Raiders 23-16 thanks to a dynamic running game and a stout defense, and they will have seen enough weaknesses in this Tampa Bay side in recent weeks to feel confident about putting some serious points on the board.

A banged-up Tampa defense also suffered another blow this week as Richard Sherman was placed on injured reserve and Vita Vea was carted off against Washington - add in their loss of star defender Vea, and suddenly the task of containing this Giants offense looks even tougher.

We're expecting an entertaining prime time encounter with an angry Bucs side determined to avoid three losses in a row. In particular, a certain Tom Brady will be keen to silence his critics who again suggest age is catching up to him.

These sides have also met every year since 2017 and a look back at those four encounters shows that there tends to be fireworks, with an average of 58 points scored per match

And while we're leaning towards a Tampa win, we reckon an in-form Giants outfit with the benefit of a bye week have the firepower to put at least 21 points on the board against an injury-hit Bucs defense.

Quarterback Matchup: Tom Brady vs Daniel Jones

Tom Brady and Daniel Jones, NFL quarterbacks

Tom Brady may well be the GOAT but he has looked, dare we say it, average in the past couple of games, throwing four interceptions after having just one pick in the Bucs' previous six matches.

Brady could only manage 220 yards through the air in Washington, which was his second-lowest total of the season, and next up is a Giants defense that has allowed over 300 passing yards just twice this campaign.

You write off No.12 at your peril though, as Brady hasn't lost three straight games since his first season with the Patriots in 2002, and let's not forget he still leads the league with 319 yards per game and a remarkable 27 touchdowns from nine matches.

As if facing Brady wasn't scary enough, Giants quarterback Daniel Jones also has history against him - he has lost all seven of the prime time games he has played in since being drafted in 2019.

And the Giants signal-caller has yet to catch fire this season, ranking 21st in passing yardage and tied 25th in passing touchdowns.

However, on the plus side, the fact that Jones ranks 9th in interceptions thrown, with just five in nine games and only one in his last three could prove to be crucial in a game which could well be decided by who makes the least mistakes.

And, Jones will also be cheered up by the return of star running back Saquon Barkley, meaning the Giants should be able to field their three main attacking threats in Barkley and wide receivers Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney.

And it was no coincidence that the only previous time this season that those three were on the field together, Jones threw for 402 yards and the Giants earned their most impressive win of the campaign against the New Orleans Saints.

Key Men

Leonard Fournette - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

One of those curious stats that the NFL seems to regularly throw up is that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 5-0 this season when they gain at least 81 yards on the ground and 1-3 when they don't.

If they are to reach that magic number then it will fall predominantly on the broad shoulders of running back Leonard Fournette, who has made the position his own after a string of impressive performances in the last two seasons.

Fournette is averaging just 54 yards per game this campaign, but should thrive against a mediocre Giants run defense that has conceded an average of over 122 yards per game.

Rob Gronkowski - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rob Gronkowski

When the biggest duo in the NFL was rekindled last year there were doubts whether Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski could recreate the spark that brought them so much success in New England.

One Vince Lombardi trophy later and the naysayers have been silenced, and Gronkowski's return from injury is a timely one. Gronk has only played in three full games this season but has averaged over 60 yards per match and hauled in four touchdowns - his presence will be a real boost for Tom Brady, particularly in the red zone.

Kenny Golladay - New York Giants

After an injury hit start there would be no better time for wide receiver Kenny Golladay to start justifying his massive contract than against a Bucs side that almost forces teams to throw because of their second-ranked rush defense.

It was a positive sign to hear Golladay talk this week about feeling the best he has done all season after an extra week's rest, and with an average of 16.3 yards per catch in the six games he has played this season, if Daniel Jones can find him, Golladay could be the difference-maker.

Leonard Williams - New York Giants

Leonard Williams has revitalised his NFL career as a Giant

As well as his own brilliance, a significant contributing factor to Tom Brady's success this season has been excellent protection. Brady has been sacked just 12 times, the fewest among QBs who have started nine games.

Getting to him is key, and much of that burden will fall on Leonard Williams, who leads his team with 5.5 sacks this season, along with a forced fumble and a fumble return.

Previous matchups

Buccaneers vs Giants, NFL

November 3rd, 2020: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 25-23 New York Giants

If any game will serve as motivation for Daniel Jones it's this one. The Giants quarterback threw a heartbreaking interception with his side leading 17-15 and having driven to the Bucs' 34-yard line with 12:46 to play.

Tampa Bay took full advantage of his mistake, with Tom Brady finding Mike Evans for the go-ahead touchdown, and the visitors went on to secure a two-point victory and move to 6-2 for the season.

September 22nd, 2019: New York Giants 32-31 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jones will have far better memories of his first game against the Bucs, as he led the Giants to a comeback victory in his very first start for the New York side. In a superb performance, Jones threw for 336 yards and two touchdowns and rushed in for another two scores.

The visitors trailed 28-10 at halftime but produced a barnstorming second half performance where they restricted the hosts to just a field goal. With just 1:16 remaining, Jones ran in the game-winning touchdown and announced himself as the Giants' new franchise quarterback.

November 18th, 2018: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 35 @ New York Giants 38

A game where both sides held a 2-5 record did not promise much, but the Giants and Bucs served up a hugely entertaining encounter that went right down to the wire.

The hosts had Saquon Barkley to thank for the victory, as their marquee draft pick rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns as he continued the amazing form that would ultimately earn him the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

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