Monday Night Football Picks: Buccaneers Aim Their Firepower at Giants
Right now enthusiasm in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is totally justified. They are battling with the New Orleans Saints for the top spot in the NFC South. And it is likely that both of them will appear in the post-season.
The New York Giants aren’t likely to be in the post-season, but it is still possible. Even with their 1-6 record, they are just a game and a half behind the front-running Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East.
The Bucs and Giants slug it out on Monday at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands.
Here are the numbers…
The Bucs are laying double digits in this game, according to the folks at BetOnline:
|Buccaneers||-12½ (-106)||45 (-115)||-725|
|Giants||+12½ (-114)||45 (-105)||+520|
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Buccaneers – Offensive upgrades keep on comin’
Many people who follow things are aware that the Bucs had two Pro Bowl wide receivers last season. Chris Godwin (not available for this one) and Mike Evans are back. And they were joined by Tom Brady at quarterback. The six-time Super Bowl champ then reached out for an old colleague. And he was able to get Rob Gronkowski to come out of retirement.
The Patriots signed Pro Bowl running back Leonard Fournette after he was cut by Jacksonville. And now they are conducting a big experiment with Antonio Brown. The former All-Pro has caught at least 100 passes six times in his career. And he’s also been a standout kick returner, which is where head coach Bruce Arians wants to use him this week.
Buccaneers – Defensive dominance also a hallmark
The numbers demonstrate that the Buccaneers have developed a playoff-level defense. Currently they are second in the NFL in yards allowed per drive. They are third best in points allowed per drive. They’ve got 25 sacks (compared to eighBuccaneers t that they’ve allowed). They’re forcing punts on 39.2% of their opponents’ possessions. They are yielding just three yards per rushing attempt. They held Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay to just 201 yards TOTAL. So Todd Bowles, a defensive coordinator who’s been a head coach with the Dolphins and Jets, is doing a great job.
Giants – Can they match weaponry?
The answer to that question is that they probably can’t. Daniel Jones obviously has to watch his turnovers; he’s got eleven this year, second most in the NFL. The backfield is thin. They will probably go with Wayne Gallman starting, with Dion Lewis as a third down guy and perhaps Alfred Morris to be activated.
But Jones has some people to turn to. Evan Engram had a key drop against the Eagles in a 22-21 loss, but he’s caught 26 passes. Sterling Shepard is playing through turf toe. And he says he “feels good.” Darius Slayton is Jones’ most dangerous threat (averages 15.9 yards a catch). Jones himself is something of a wild card. Did you see him stumble and fall on the way to an 80-yard RUN against Philadelphia?
The Giants should not be confused with the Jets. Yes, they are both bad. And the Giants are just a shade better offensively. But they are putting together competitive efforts for first-year coach Joe Judge. With just a little luck, they may have had a three-game winning streak going. They can fight their way inside the pointspread. But Tampa Bay is humming on offense to the extent that if that happens, it’s because the Giants put together some offense. So we’re supporting an OVER on this total.
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