Keys to the Game: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New York Giants


Are you ready for another primetime game? Some Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans might be skeptical after the Thursday Night blunder, but this is not the same team it was four weeks ago.


The 5-2 Buccaneers are set to take on the 1-6 New York Giants on Monday Night Football. And at first glance, it might seem like it should be a lopsided game. Fair enough, but the Giants have played in close games due to their decent defense. Still, the Buccaneers should win handily, here is how they can come out on top.

Don’t Force The Run

The Giants might not do many things well, but one strength of their football team is run defense. New York ranks 11th in DVOA and eighth in rushing yards allowed per game.

The Buccaneers love to establish the run (for whatever reason), but this should not be the strategy going into Monday night. The game plan should be pass, pass, and pass some more. New York ranks 27th in pass defense DVOA and are 21st in passing yards allowed per game.

James Bradberry has been solid with three interceptions on the season. He has shut down Mike Evans in the past, but the rest of the secondary is awful, especially at the safety position.

Logan Ryan and Jabrill Peppers are big names, but they have struggled against the pass, often selling out for the run. Tom Brady will have plenty of opportunities to take the deep shot, and I have the utmost confidence in his ability to connect.

Relentless Defense

Last week against the Las Vegas Raiders saw a much different game plan from Todd Bowles. He blitzed less often and forced Derek Carr to go through his progressions and make quick decisions with a delayed Devin White rush.

This week, I expect Bowles to get back to his usual self, and force the Giants depleted offensive line to make frequent adjustments at the line of scrimmage. Quarterback Daniel Jones is often careless with the football. He is tied for third in fumbles (five) and interceptions (seven). Even his pressure percentage is second in the NFL through seven games at 28.8%.

The fact is, Jones is bound to make a mistake, you just need to facilitate that process. If Todd Bowles blitzes as he did against Aaron Rodgers, Jones is going to have a rough night. I expect him to have three combined turnovers in this game due to the relentless style of play from Bowles.

Don’t Force it to Mike Evans

Many fans were upset with the lack of targets for Mike Evans last Sunday. The reality is, Evans doesn’t care, he just wants to win. In the past, Jameis Winston would force the football to Evans, resulting in big plays, or a turnover.

Brady just won’t do that, and I hope they adhere to this philosophy this week. If the game gets out of hand, then fine, start taking some deep shots with Evans. But you have to remember, James Bradberry has shut down Evans a few times in Carolina. For whatever reason, he knows how to cover bigger receivers.

The lack of Chris Godwin may be cause for concern, but Scotty Miller, Tyler Johnson, and Leonard Fournette should pick up the slack this week. The New York Giants are a bad football team. They may have deserved one or two more wins, but the Buccaneers should beat them handily if they are the real deal. I think the defense will suffocate Daniel Jones, with some struggles on offense to start the game.

Ultimately, the Buccaneers will come out on top, ready to take on the New Orleans Saints on Sunday Night Football.