New York Giants Preview: Week 11 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The New York Giants are feeling great following their last-second victory over the San Francisco 49ers this past Monday. As a result, they earned their second win of the season, leaving just seven more games to win-out and make the playoffs, just as Odell Beckham Jr. predicted.
However, they have to face off against an equally unpredictable team in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, lead by “Fitzmagic” Ryan Fitzpatrick. Both teams are on in prime position to earn top ten draft picks this upcoming spring, but they’re not playing for draft value. They want to win.
Here are some things to look for on Sunday afternoon.
Will Eli Continue to Start After Sunday?
Heading into the 49ers matchup, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur did not guarantee Eli Manning a start beyond Week 10. It’s Week 11 and Manning lives to see another start with the Giants.
While he didn’t light up the stat sheet in terms of yardage, he was efficient enough to give the Giants the victory.
Now, Manning faces off a Buccaneers pass defense that ranks as they have allowed the fourth-most passing yards per game this season with 291.1. It doesn’t end there as they have allowed 23 touchdowns through the air, which is the most in the entire NFL.
Manning will have to take advantage of the favorable matchup on Sunday, and he has the perfect weapons to do some damage.
Can the O-Line Repeat Week 10’s Success?
The most encouraging piece to come out of the Giants’ win earlier in the week is the performance of the offensive line. The addition of Jamon Brown paid dividends, as he provided stability inside the line of scrimmage. As a result, the Giants o-line allowed just one sack in the entire game. Manning was kept upright for the majority of the game, and what do you know, he scored some touchdowns as a result.
Many skeptics point out to San Francisco’s lack of a pass rush. Well, they will likely say the same thing against Tampa Bay’s. The Buccaneers have allowed the highest passer rating in the NFL (122.3) and have just 21 sacks on the year, ranking 23rd in the league.
On paper, New York’s offensive line has the potential to have similar success as they did against the 49ers.
Stop the Fitzmagic
While the Buccaneers have struggled since their strong start to the season, their offense has been far from an issue. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick took over following Jameis Winston’s suspension. After a slight fall in production, Winston entered the fray, but with worse results. Fitzpatrick looks to be the starter for the remainder of the year, and has been putting up strong numbers.
With Fitzpatrick slinging the ball, Tampa Bay leads the league in passing yards per game (361.2) and total offense (452.8 yards/game), which is higher than the likes of the Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City Chiefs, and New Orleans Saints.
The Giants, statistically, have a middle of the pack passing defense. They have allowed an average of 244.7 yards through the air (18th), which can cause some concern. However, they have allowed just 12 passing touchdowns, which is tied for the second-least in the NFL. One thing to keep in mind is the Giants have not faced an offense as powerful as the Buccaneers, as they have to contain the likes of Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, and O.J. Howard. That can prove to be no easy feat.
The Return of JPP
Sunday will be a revenge game for one player, and that’s Tampa Bay defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
The former first-round pick of the Giants was traded this offseason by new general manager Dave Gettleman in order to clear up some cap space. There has been a bit of hard feelings from Pierre-Paul, as he only received phone calls from Gettleman and Eli Manning. What irked him the most was the fact that Giants co-owners John Mara or Steve Tisch allegedly never reached out to him.
To say Pierre-Paul had this date circled on his calendar is a bit of an understatement.
“Honestly, I had this game checked off since I left there, so emotions running big,” said Pierre-Paul during a conference call this past Wednesday. “I’m coming, man. I’m bringing the house down.”
Pierre-Paul is on pace to having his best career season since 2011, as he has eight sacks through his first nine games with the Buccaneers. Will he gain vengeance against the team that parted ways with him earlier in the year?
The Giants-Buccaneers game will kickoff at 1:00 p.m. ET live on FOX.
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