Giants vs Buccaneers: Could the New York Giants really defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday and have an honest-to-goodness winning streak? Here are the predictions from your Big Blue View contributors.
The New York Giants have their second opportunity of 2018 to go on a winning streak. But will they? Can their offense keep up with Ryan Fitzpatrick and the most dangerous passing attack in the NFL? Thanks to a furious quarter and a half of work from Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, and Sterling Shepard, the Giants were only just able to keep up with Nick Mullens, George Kittle, and Matt Brieda. If the Giants can square themselves with the futility of their running game and come out of the gates attacking Tampa Bay’s vulnerable secondary, they have a chance to put pressure on Fitzpatrick and make this a shootout.
Of course, after being lauded for its work against the 49ers, the Giants’ offensive line faces a significant jump in competition in Jason Pierre-Paul, Gerald McCoy, and perhaps Carl Nassib, who is questionable.
The Giants should be able to find extreme mismatches in the passing game, and they’ll need them. But the game might hinge on whether or not the Giants retreat into their schematic shell at the first hint of pressure, as has been tendency this season
This should be a shootout. Both teams have bad defenses that have prone to giving up big plays. The Bucs have an offense that has proven it has the ability to score and the Giants have the personnel that should be able to score, though we’re going on the 11th week of saying that.
Tampa Bay will be without Lavonte David, which should open up the middle of the field for Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram in the passing game. The Bucs were already 28th against tight ends and 26th against running backs with him on the field, so losing him could be more catastrophic.
The problem is, the Giants have been almost as bad on defense going against an offense that has proven to be better. No team throws deeper down the field than Tampa Bay — Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick and first and second in Intended Air Yards this season per Next Gen Stats — and while the Giants are surprisingly sixth in DVOA against deep passes, they’re susceptible to the deep pass in the middle of the field, where Fitzpatrick has been at his best. The Giants are also 31st in DVOA defending short passes up the middle, so beware of tight end O.J. Howard and slot receiver Adam Humphries (potentially Chris Godwin too, but he’s questionable).
There’s also the problem of the Giants pass rush, where the problem is it doesn’t really exist. When kept clean, Ryan Fitzpatrick has averaged 10.5 yards per attempt. That drops to 7.1 when he gets hit. The Giants haven’t shown enough in the pass rush to suggest disrupting Tampa Bay’s passing game is something to count on. That could make it too difficult to stop the Buccaneers from scoring.
This matchup is an odd one for me.
Looking at how both teams have fared over the past few weeks, one might think that the Giants would be the team people would be picking to win. But looking around at the rest of the writers here at BBV, as well as the FanPulse numbers, it seems that others are not confident in the Giants.
It is true that the Buccaneers have a ton of offensive weaponry. But those weapons are only as good as the trigger-man allows them to be. The early FitzMagic has waned, and it begins with Ryan Fitzpatrick’s eyes. His ability to manipulate defenders that was on display in the early weeks has not shown up over his past two starts, and he’s thrown four interceptions.