EAST RUTHERFORD, — Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) at New York Giants (0-1)
Location: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
Nat’l TV: N/A
Local TV: WTVT-13 (FOX)
Away TV: FOX 5 (FOX)
Announcers: Joe Buck/Troy Aikman/Pam Oliver
Live Stream: NFL Live Stream
Radio: WDAE 620AM (Tampa), WFAN 660AM (New York)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 135 (Bucs Feed), Sirius 85 (Giants Feed)
Weather: 75°F, Sunny
Line: Giants by 7
Injury Report: TAMPA BAY — LG Carl Nicks (PROBABLE), WR Arrelious Benn (PROBABLE), RB LeGarrette Blount (PROBABLE), RT Jeremy Trueblood (QUESTIONABLE), CB E.J. Biggers (DOUBTFUL), CB Anthony Gaitor (DOUBTFUL)
NEW YORK — C David Baas (PROBABLE), WR Victor Cruz (PROBABLE), DT Marvin Austin (PROBABLE), CB Micheal Coe (QUESTIONABLE), CB Prince Amukamara (QUESTIONABLE), WR Hakeem Nicks (QUESTIONABLE), DE Adewale Ojomo (OUT)
Key Matchup: Josh Freeman vs. Banged-up Giants Secondary
Despite how it looks on paper, this is a very winnable game for the Buccaneers. The Cowboys and Tony Romo picked apart a paper thin Giants defensive secondary in the season opener and something called Kevin Ogletree (I could have sworn he was a golfer) ate the Giants alive in more than one way. Not only did this no name receiver kill the Giants with two touchdowns, he caught the first down pass that sealed the deal. I’ll be the guy who says it with full faith: if the Cowboys and Kevin Ogletree can do it why not Freeman and Vjax, Mike Williams, Preston Parker, ect.
Last Game: Buccaneers beat Panthers 16-10, Giants lost to Cowboys 24-17
Last Meeting: September 9, 2009 — Buccaneers 0, Giants 24
Series History (Since 2001): Giants lead series 3-1 (not including playoffs)
Key Bucs Storyline: Can the magic keep rolling in Tampa against the Super Bowl champs?
Opposing View: When will Eli Manning’s targets decide to catch the ball; how big of a flaw is the banged-up secondary?
Last Minute Preview: For the first time since taking on writing duties at The Pewter Plank three seasons ago, I picked against the Bucs last week. Maybe I should do that again because for the first time since week 4 of last year the Bucs actually won. This looks to be an actual football team now behind Greg Schiano but we get a pretty quick reality check in the second week when Tampa goes on the road to face the Super Bowl champs.
It’s not a cold weather game, so it’s not going to be intense in that regard, but it’s going to feel that way. Think back to all those games against Philly; the breath steaming out of the face masks, everyone with those frozen red cheeks and the football was played harsh. That’s how it’s going to be Sunday in New York, it’s going to have all the makings of a cold weather battle without the cold.
That’s because usually in those games, it felt like the Bucs were up against maybe more than they could handle. Eli Manning and the Giants had a miserable Week 1 showing against the Cowboys and they’re hankering for some revenge and to set their season straight. If you think the Giants are going to lay down and start with an 0-2 record then just leave.
The key to winning is the secondary — on both teams. The Giants managed to keep Demarco Murray semi-contained on Sunday, but Kevin Ogletree ate them alive. This is because their secondary was basically one step away form asking fans in the front row to suit up and help out.
This is the perfect opportunity for Josh Freeman to exploit a vastly superior defense while it’s down and stomp on them. If he gets time to throw, he needs to find his targets as this is exactly the game the Bucs stacked their receiving corps for. Vincent Jackson will draw a double team but he’ll do so from already sub-par defenders. This leaves a thin secondary to acount for Mike Williams, Arrelious Benn and Preston Parker and this isn’t even taking into account Doug Martin and Dallas Clark.
Someone will have a breakout game and it’s going to look even juicer coming against the Giants.
It very well could come from the offensive line. They did their job and made sure no one called their name last Sunday but the task is tall against the likes of Osi Umenyoria and Justin Tuck. Carl Nicks is going shine opening holes for Doug Martin and fending off blazing quick blitzes all game long. The Giants know Josh Freeman is still rattled a little easy and if he’s not, they’re going to do their damnedest to make sure he gets that way by the fourth quarter.
This is a very winnable game for the Bucs but it’s only so if they play air tight football. There is literally zero margin for error against the Giants, and even if there is with their secondary being the way it is, they can’t think that way. If the Bucs want to be taken seriously they will play the best football possible as this is the FOX Game of the Week. Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and company are in town which means all eyes are on the Giants and Bucs.
The time is now for the Bucs to show if they’ve truly arrived. No one was expecting much heading into this season, but Bucs fans may very well be in for a pleasant surprise come today’s game. Let’s just say this: this game isn’t a game the Youngry Bucs win. It’s one a real football wins.
Prediction: Bucs 24, Giants 21, OT