The PewterReport.com staff shares its thoughts on the upcoming Bucs game and pick who we think we win, including a score prediction and a pick-to-click – a Tampa Bay player we think will play really well. Let us know you thoughts and add your prediction in the comment section.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (1-1) VS. NEW YORK GIANTS (0-2) WHEN: SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 4:05 P.M. ET WHERE: RAYMOND JAMES STADIUM (65,618) TELEVISION: FOX PLAY-BY-PLAY: KENNY ALBERT ANALYSTS: RONDE & TIKI BARBER SIDELINE: SARA WALSH BUCS RADIO: 98ROCK, FLAGSHIP STATION (WXTB-97.9 FM) PLAY-BY-PLAY: GENE DECKERHOFF ANALYST: DAVE MOORE SIDELINE: T.J. RIVES
PewterReport.com Publisher / Bucs Beat Writer Scott Reynolds
Table of Contents
The Bucs’ two previous games against New York Giants have been close over the last two seasons. Tampa Bay won at home on a last-second field goal, 25-23, in 2017, and lost last year in New York, 38-35. I’m not expecting this game to be that close where it comes down to the wire. The Bucs are very confident coming off their upset win at Carolina last week and have a few extra days of rest, which should benefit them.
Tampa Bay knows it should be 2-0 after essentially giving the season opener away to San Francisco with a pair of pick-sixes as part of four turnovers against the 49ers. The good news is that the Bucs see what can happen when they don’t beat themselves, evidenced last week with zero turnovers against the Panthers. I look for Tampa Bay to continue to win the turnover margin as Todd Bowles’ high pressure defense should force rookie quarterback Daniel Jones into some mistakes. Somehow, someway the Bucs defense gets its second defensive touchdown of the season with a score against the Giants.
Giants RB Saquon Barkley – Photo by Elsa/Getty Images
Stopping Pro Bowl running back Saquon Barkley will be a challenge, as he accounted for over 150 yards and three touchdowns in the win over the Bucs last year. If the Bucs can cut his production from a year ago in half they should prevail. The defense will have to be on guard against screen passes to Barkley and draws as countermeasures to the blitzes that Bowles will bring – in addition to some bootlegs from the mobile Jones.
Bucs wide receivers Mike Evans and Breshad Perriman along with tight end O.J. Howard have had disappointing starts to the 2019 season, but I think that changes on Sunday against the G-Men. One or two of those aforementioned players has a breakout game and helps Jameis Winston light up the scoreboard for Tampa Bay. It’s a close game at halftime, but the Bucs pull away in the second half to get their first home win of the season and remain atop the NFC South division with a 2-1 record.
PewterReport.com Editor/Bucs Beat Writer Mark Cook
Much of the talk this week has been about the benching of veteran Eli Manning in favor of rookie quarterback Daniel Jones. And while that is the big news story nationally, the biggest threat to the Buccaneers walking out of Raymond James on Sunday evening sitting at 2-1 instead of 1-2, is running back Saquon Barkley. Holding No. 26 at bay is the key to winning or losing to the Giants on Sunday.
Giants QB Daniel Jones – Photo by: Getty Images
So far this season opposing featured running backs Matt Brieda and Christian McCaffrey have been held to under 100 yards combined between the two by this revamped Tampa Bay defense. That is an impressive stat. A lot of people say it isn’t so much about the coaching as it is the players. There is some truth to that, however, to say Todd Bowles has worked wonders through the first team weeks of the season would be an understatement. Can he keep it up? Sunday will be a big test. Put your focus on stopping Barkly and if Jones beats you, well, you weren’t a very good defense to begin with and the curtain will be pulled back to expose a defense that was maybe more smoke and mirrors through the first two weeks.
The Bucs offense needs to find its footing and identity and the Giants are a good team to get that going against. The Giants defense is ranked 28th in the NFL after two games. Tampa Bay should have the advantage playing at home in the heat, and the fact is, there is a lot of talent on the Bucs offense. Quarterback Jameis Winston took a step in the right direction with a rebound game on Thursday night in the upset win over the Panthers but he needs to keep that moving in the right direction. And just wait until tight end O.J. Howard and wide receiver Mike Evans get into their expected groove.
Jones may make some plays early to keep things interesting but I will put my money on Bowles making the afternoon extremely uncomfortable for the rookie especially as the game goes on. It may only be 14-10 a the half but look for the better team turning it on in the second half and not leaving much room for drama. The Bucs will take it handily. Cook’s Score Prediction: Buccaneers 31, Giants 16
Cook’s Pick-To-Click: TE O.J. Howard
Season Prediction Record: 0-2
PewterReport.com Bucs Beat Writer Trevor Sikkema
“Daniel Jones, Julio Jones, James Earl Jones, Indiana Jones; don’t matter. Bucs are going to win.” Todd Bowles, maybe, probably not
The big story in this one, from a national appeal, is how the No. 6 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, quarertback Daniel Jones, will be making his regular season debut as a starter for the New York Giants on the road at Raymond James Stadium. Though Jones’ presence will certainly command some interest from the Buccaneers defense and the national audience, it’s the Buccaneers offense that will mean more towards the final score in this game.
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians and OC Byron Leftwich – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
I’m just going to say it, I don’t like how Byron Leftwich has called these first two games. I think the Bucs are too focused on staying balanced, running the ball as much as they are passing the ball, and I think it is hindering their ability to capitalize on momentum.
Head coach Bruce Arians gave emphasis to the play action game being a staple of what they wanted to do on offense this season, but I have yet to see it really be used as a weapon. Sure, they’ve called play action, but it has been at times when it’s been predictable. That’s what I think the Bucs offense is right now. They are executing well and are doing enough to win — they would’ve been in it with the 49ers if not for those pick-6s — but when it comes to taking that next step, I think it’s on Leftwich to stay a step ahead.
Nearing the end of the first half in the Panthers game, Mike Evans came up with a huge 41-yard catch to put Carolina’s defense on their heels. You know what the next two plays were? Runs up the middle. Why? Tampa is taking the wind out of their own sails with their play calls right now. I think they need to be much more opportunistic in capitalizing on momentum as the game goes on.
Oh, and stop running the ball on first down so much.
In this game I’m looking for Leftwich to roll with the punches a bit more. Balance is a good plan to have going in and something to always keep in mind, but you have to feel the flow of the game. Do that and they’ll win this one and more.
Everyone is talking about the rookie debut of Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, and that definitely is the biggest story, but I want to focus on the Bucs offense to start off.
Through two games the Bucs offense has not been up to standard, scoring just 30 points overall. They’re still figuring out what exactly is working for them while they implement a new system, particularly in the passing game. Other than Chris Godwin, who has 11 catches for 174-yards and two touchdowns, the rest of the tight ends and receivers really haven’t had an impact for the team.
Bucs O.J. Howard – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
O.J.Howard had no catches last week, and outside of a 41-yard deep ball caught by Mike Evans, he hasn’t been involved much either. But I expect that to change this Sunday against a struggling Giants defense that is 30th in the league in passing yards allowed with 321-yards per game. I think this is where Evans, Howard, and the rest of the Bucs have a breakout game on offense and really find their footing. Does that mean they will abandon the run? Absolutely not. They’ll continue their success on the ground game, but also exploit the Giants weakness in the passing game.
I can’t think of much tougher defensive coordinator to play against in your NFL debut than what Jones will have to face against Todd Bowles. He’s a mastermind of coming up with exotic blitzes, but where he’ll really mess with Jones’ head is how he disguises coverages that the rookie may not have seen before. Jones does bring some elements that Eli Manning doesn’t, such as mobility and a strong arm, but the Bucs should be able to stop him.
Shaq Barrett and company are going to pin their ears back as Jones drops back to pass and figure out where to throw it, so I see the pass rush really getting to him. The number one priority for the defense, though, is still to stop Saquon Barkley. He’ll get his touches in the run game, but it’s also the pass game where they have to watch out for him, and the Giants will try to get Barkley the ball as much as they can to help out Jones.
It’s imperative that the Bucs get off to a good start at home this week. Starting a new quarterback will provide a spark for the Giants as they turn the page, so if they were to get points on their opening drive and the Bucs don’t, that could really get them going. Bucs fans won’t like to hear this, but there will be a decent amount of Giants fans in the crowd, and if the Giants jump out to an early lead, they will be loud in the stadium.
I do think that the Bucs should handle the Giants favorably as Winston and Evans finally have an outburst. The Bucs get their first win at home during the season and stack up on both wins and confidence as they move on to tougher challenges in the following weeks.
Matera’s Score Prediction: Buccaneers 30, Giants 20 Matera’s Pick-To-Click: WR Mike Evans Season Prediction Record: 0-2
PewterReport.com Bucs Beat Writer Taylor Jenkins
After a week one loss to the 49ers the sky seemed to be falling in Tampa, but the Bucs rebounded with a great defensive performance to beat Carolina on a short turnaround in Week 2.
This week’s matchup against the New York Giants will begin and end with stopping running back Saquon Barkley. Tampa Bay has done well stopping the run in their first two games, not allowing a single touchdown on the ground while holding their opponents to just 68.5 rushing yards per game, a number good enough for sixth in the league. With that said, you don’t go into games realistically looking to stop Barkley, with his rare mix of size and speed you can only hope to slow him down and limit the big-play threat that he brings to the table every time the Giants run a play.
Facing a rookie quarterback in his first career start, defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ will look to keep Daniel Jones off balance and not allow him to get comfortable in the pocket. Bowles will do that the only way he knows how, by sending pressure and more importantly disguising that pressure to take advantage of the first-year signal callers’ inexperience when it comes to shifting protections and making pre-snap reads at the NFL level.
Bucs DC Todd Bowles – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
As for the Bucs’ offense, this should be their best opportunity to have their breakout game under new offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. The Giants have allowed 31.5 points per game through two weeks — ahead of only the Miami Dolphins for the league’s worst — while generating just three sacks and failing to force a single turnover. The Giants lost defensive end Olivier Vernon and safety Landon Collins in the off-season, leaving the pass rush with much to be desired and in turn leaving a less-than-stellar secondary behind Janoris Jenkins out to dry more often than not.
I said on the PewterNation podcast last week that the Bucs should go in and have a great game, from top to bottom, against the Giants. Now that statement seems more important than ever before Tampa Bay heads off on a grueling stretch that includes seven weeks away from Raymond James Stadium.
Jenkins’ Score Prediction: Buccaneers 24, Giants 13 Jenkins’ Pick-To-Click: WR Chris Godwin Season Prediction Record: 0-2
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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