New York Giants Week 8 Preview: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The New York Giants look to reach two wins at the halfway point of the season as they face the NFC South leader Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday Night Football in Week 8.

The Giants are coming off a 22-21 loss against the Philadelphia Eagles, their second divisional loss.

The Bucs, last week, had their best offensive performance, defeating the Las Vegas Raiders, 45-20, to improve to 5-2. Tom Brady had his best game as a 43-year-old, throwing for 369 yards and four touchdowns.

Tampa Bay is a 12-point favorite, according to Caesars Sportsbook

Daniel Jones‘ first career start was against the Bucs in Week 3 of 2019, which was a 32-31 win, one of two career game-winning drives, and one of four career wins.

Pass Rush Against Brady

In both Super Bowl victories for the Giants against the Patriots, the key was getting to Tom Brady.

It is the same in this game, though the Giants won’t have the dynamic edge pass rushers they had in those years.

The Giants had three sacks last week against the Eagles, who have allowed the most in the NFL. Following that game, New York dealt last year’s sack leader Markus Golden to the Arizona Cardinals.

Brady has been sacked only eight times in 2020; for reference, Ben DiNucci has been sacked seven times in two games.

Linebackers Kyler Fackrell and Blake Martinez will need to step up even more and contain the edge because, without Golden and with Tae Crowder and Oshane Ximines still on injured reserve, there won’t be much help.

Pass Rush Against Jones

Jones has been sacked 20 times, which is the fifth-most in the NFL.

The Giants O-line will be without starting LG Will Hernandez, who tested positive for COVID. The Bucs come in with some elite pass rushers, with former Giant Jason Pierre Paul leading Tampa with 5.5 sacks.

What will be key for the Giants is identifying blitzes and not committing to a rusher too early to block, but widening the vision to look for where the most pressure will come from.

This is partly on Jones, but mainly on the O-line. Tampa Bay will get to the quarterback, but the Giants need that to be at a lesser rate to sustain a drive. / AP Photo: Jason Behnken

Winning Third Down

The Giants offense has faced too many long third downs, while the Giants defense is successful at getting into third-down scenarios but can’t get off the field.

The Buccaneers offense has a third-and-short conversion rate of 73%, while the Giants allow third-and-short conversions at a 76% rate, good for fourth-worst in the NFL.

The Giants’ offensive third-down conversion overall is solid at 42%, while teams move the chains on third down against the Bucs defense at 39%.

Look, in recent weeks, we have been inundated with percentage numbers not understanding the true context, but on Monday night, the Giants need to finish on third down on both sides of the ball, or this game will be over at the half.

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