Sunday, September 24, 1:00 p.m. ET (12:00 P.M. CT)
Raymond James Stadium (64,428)
PLAY-BY-PLAY: Kenny Albert  ANALYSTS: Ronde Barber & Tiki Barber SIDELINE: Kristina Pink BUCS RADIO: 98Rock, Flagship Station (WXTB-97.9 FM)
PLAY-BY-PLAY: Gene Deckerhoff ANALYST: Dave Moore SIDELINE: T.J. Rives
LAST GAME: Tampa Bay lost at Minnesota 34-17; N.Y. Giants lost at Philadelphia, 27-24

PewterReport.com Publisher & Bucs Beat Writer Scott Reynolds
Having both star linebackers Kwon Alexander (hamstring) and Lavonte David (ankle) out for the Giants game is a nightmare scenario for defensive coordinator Mike Smith. There is a pretty decent chance that this game could be chess vs. checkers with the experienced Eli Manning going head-to-head with rookie linebacker Kendell Beckwith in terms of the pre-snap calls and checks at the line of scrimmage, and that’s not ideal for Tampa Bay. New York will also want to get speedy rookie tight end Evan Engram matched up with Beckwith vertically in pass coverage as they see that as a favorable matchup.

The Bucs defense is bolstered by the return of defensive tackle Chris Baker and cornerback Brent Grimes and they will help with the pass rush and pass coverage, respectively. Because Grimes plays left cornerback and Vernon Hargreaves III plays on the right side, look for Giants head coach and play-caller Bob McAdoo to try to get Odell Beckham, Jr. matched up against the second-year Bucs cornerback as much as possible. Tampa Bay can’t sleep on Brandon Marshall or Sterling Shepard, either, as both Giants receivers are capable of big days.

Getting to Manning will be key for the Bucs’ pass rush as the Giants offensive line has surrendered eight sacks this season already. Robert Ayers, Jr. is excited to play his former team and needs to come alive against left tackle Erik Flowers. At age 31, Ayers has looked like a shell of his former self so far this year and if he can’t get sacks against Flowers it could be a sign that he doesn’t have a lot left in the tank. The Bucs have just one sack in 78 pass attempts this year and need to have a multiple sack game.

On offense, Tampa Bay has to take advantage of the fact that New York has the worst run defense in the NFL, allowing an average of 153.3 yards per game. After Jameis Winston threw three picks last week in a loss at Minnesota, expect head coach Dirk Koetter to come out and have his offensive line, Jacquizz Rodgers and Peyton Barber pound the rock against the Giants in a game plan that will be reminiscent of last year’s win at Carolina on Monday Night Football. If the Bucs get their running game going that will only make Winston’s play-action passes to Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson, who has plenty of experience playing against the Giants from his days in Washington and Philadelphia, even more potent.

Reynolds’ Score Prediction: Bucs win 24-23

Reynolds’ Pick-to-click: DE Robert Ayers, Jr

PewterReport.com Editor and Bucs Beat Writer Mark Cook
How do the Bucs respond to early season adversity? A blow out loss? Significant injuries? A team coming in that is very hungry and desperate for a win? There really is no such thing as a must win in September, but this one is pretty darn important. For both teams.

We could sit here all day long and look at this matchup and that matchup, but the bottom line is the team that doesn’t turn the ball over will most likely win the game. Bucs get four turnovers against the Bears and win easily. The Bucs give up three turnovers against Minnesota and get crushed.

This game will come down to the quarterbacks. If Winston can avoid the momentum changing turnovers, and the Bucs defense can come up with a couple of their own, then Tampa Bay should win the game. It is pretty simple. But what if both teams stay turnover free? Then it is time for Winston take this team on his back and play like the franchise quarterback many think he can be. It’s time. No more excuses about being young. No more excuses about not having weapons. This offense hasn’t exploded in quite a while, and with a running game that isn’t particularly efficient, Winston has to be the catalyst. That is what great quarterbacks have to do.

Of course the Bucs need to pressure Manning. Of course the Bucs need to establish the run. Of course the Bucs need to contain the talented cast of Giants’ receivers. But are you gambling that all three will happen? I’m not. So this one is on the offense. Go score points. Lots of them.
Cook’s Score prediction: Bucs win 31-28 
Cook’s Pick To Click: QB Jameis Winston

PewterReport.com Bucs Beat Reporter Trevor Sikkema
I am surprised that the New York Giants are still winless here in Week 4. But, to quote a once Buccaneers head coach, “stats are for losers,” or, in this case, a team’s numerical record. The Giants are better than an 0-3 team; you know it; I know it. But, the real question here isn’t whether or not the Giants are better than their record, it’s whether or not they’re better than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

On paper, there are some fun match ups in store for Sunday. Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans once again gets a good test going up against New York’s Janoris Jenkins, one of the top cover cornerbacks in the league. All-Pro safety Landon Collins will likely be the one to help guard both of the Bucs tight ends. Plus, prized free agent pass rusher from a few years ago, Olivier Vernon, and his running mate Jason Pierre-Paul, will get to go up against Donovan Smith and Demar Dotson. Throw in the fact that you have one of the best wide receiver in the world for New York, Odell Beckham Jr., going up against a Buccaneers secondary that got absolutely torched last week, and there you have a few of the tipping points for the game.

But, none of those, are the most crucial, to me. The most crucial match up is when the stoppable force meets the moveable object (and, yes, I said that wrong on purpose) when the Bucs lackluster pass rush meets the Giants’ swiss cheese pass protection. Simply put: the Bucs have to get pressure on Eli Manning , and more importantly, they have to get sacks this game – yes, more than one. This is the week to do it. If they can’t do it this week, it’ll be a bad sign for the rest of the season. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is going to continue to dominate. He has every week. But, it’s about the guys around him to capitalize on the havoc he creates to finish plays. So far no one has. Robert Ayers, Noah Spence, William Gholston, and maybe even Devante Bond or Jacquies Smith; someone has to get to Manning.

Throw in the fact that Tampa Bay will likely be missing their two star players in the middle of their defense, Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander. Pass rush is the only way.

Sikkema’s Score Prediction: Giants win 
Sikkema’s Pick-to-click: Noah Spence

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About the Author: Mark Cook

Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at mark@pewterreport.com
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4 years ago

Scott and Mark, based on your strategy we will lose the game easily; Trevor, there’s some hope with your strategy. Based on the Coaches indicating we will establish a running game, we lose. Based on McCoy is injured and I doubt can go full throttle the whole game and fat boy Chris Baker will be taking a lot of oxygen on the sideline, we will lose without the help of the Offense. I so want the Bucs to win and I so hope I am wrong with this prediction: Giants beat us badly. If we win, I’m happy to take… Read more »

4 years ago

SR- I thought you wrote on Monday that the Bucs would not recover from last week’s loss and would go 1-3. I expected you to predict a loss this week. For me, I think the Bucs find a way to win this one at home. I agree that we MUST run the ball AND put pressure on Maning. Bucs win a squeaker provided the TO(#3) machine does not make an appearance.

4 years ago

-Bucs sack Eli twice
-Quizz/Barber run for 130 yards and 1 TD
-Jameis throws 190 yards 2 TD’s and 1 INT
-OJ gets his first TD
-Eli throws 2 INT’s
-OBJ torches our secondary for 115 yards and 2 TD’s
-Late FG by Folk to win

Bucs 27 Giants 24

Reply to  RootsCrew
4 years ago

I’ll take it

4 years ago

You all know how useless I think “predictions” are, how utterly insignificant a “story” they are…. But I’ll “predict” this. If the Buccaneers cannot pressure Eli enough to get him off his game against this Giants OL? It’s over unless the Buccaneers can score 28 or more points And without a running game to help Jameis be effective? Well, let’s just type the season could be on the brink in six days with the Buccaneers sitting at 1-3. These piss poor starts to the season kill the Buc’s playoff chances year after year after year. So is this a big… Read more »

Reply to  Garv
4 years ago

Well said. Maybe if we could start hot for once, we wouldn’t be under so much pressure to win games at the end of the year to make the playoffs. It seems like every year we have to “win out” to have a chance at the playoffs. Would be nice to see the Bucs come out and start strong for once.

Reply to  Garv
4 years ago

I agree with Garv.

4 years ago

I want to be optimistic, but with both of our star Linebackers out and with a gimpy McCoy, Grimes, Spence, and Baker, I am worried. We don’t have a running game which means it is all on Winston. Is Brate out too? Yikes.

4 years ago

I predict our stadium will be infested with blue jerseys chanting “Let;s go Giants” unless the “good guys” get on top and stay on top throughout the game.

I predict Robert Ayers will have his best game as a Buccaneer then fade as the season progresses.

I predict both teams will rely mostly on the arms of their QB’s and receivers because neither has a RB worth mentioning.

I predict DRDneast begrudgingly stands for his country’s anthem like he has his entire life.

Buc 1976
4 years ago

If Bucs run the ball well , D Jax stretches the field and we use our Tight Ends more. This will wear down NYG. Defense and the 4th QT. Should be the time we can control the game for a much NEEDED WIN.

4 years ago

Trevor should have to WALK THE PLANK.

4 years ago

This is a toss up. Sometimes JW’s turnovers will lose games for us, sometimes he’ll put the team on his back and carry us to a win. We essentially bet on him doing more of the latter than the former when we drafted him. This is a winnable game, one we may need to preserve our chances of a winning season given what lies ahead. He has the arm, the desire and the receivers… It’s go time!!!