The cellar-dwellers in the NFC East will take a trip to the high rent district in the NFC South when the Giants meet the Bucs in Tampa on Monday night. Let’s analyze this matchup and determine if the Bucs are worthy of being double-digit favorites as we continue to cash our NFL picks!
New York Giants vs. Tampa Bay Bucs
Monday, November 22, 2021 – 08:15 PM EST at Raymond James Stadium
After losing five of their first six games of the season the Giants have now won two of their last three including a 23-16 win over the Raiders in their last performance. Daniel Jones assumed the role of a game manager rather than a gamechanger connecting on 15-of-20 for 110 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions. He didn’t need to do much other than hand the ball to Devontae Booker, who carried much of the rushing load with 21 carries for 99 yards, while Elijhaa Penny tacked on 35 yards of his own on seven rushes.
It was a bend-but-don’t-break performance for New York’s defense as they allowed the Raiders to total over 400 combined offensive yards but held them to only one touchdown, a two-yard pass from Derek Carr to Hunter Renfrow. Xavier McKinney also had a critical pick-six less than two minutes into the third quarter when he ran back a 41-yard interception. That put the Giants up 17-13 and gave them a lead they would never relinquish.
Kenny Golladay returned after nearly a month off due to a knee injury and had a pair of catches for 28 yards. The former Lions’ receiver is without a touchdown reception this season and has not had nearly the impact the Giants were expecting when they signed him to a four-year, $72 million pact in the offseason.
Bucs Looking to Regroup
It was a mild upset when the Bucs traveled to the Big Easy and lost, 36-27, to the Saints in Week 8 as four-point road favorites. But after enjoying their bye week and having two weeks to prepare for a trip to DC and a date with Washington, the conventional wisdom was they would be well-rested and out to redeem themselves against the lowly Washington Football Team.
But a not-so-funny thing happened on the way to their league-wide domination. The WFT decided to play the kind of defense everyone expected of them before the season started and shocked the Bucs by handing them a 29-19 loss.
The NFL odds at many of the best online sportsbooks had installed the Bucs as 10-point road favorites but Tom Brady proved to be merely mortal, passing for just 220 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions while the Tampa running game was held to only 53 yards.
An exasperated Brady said after the game, “Not a great day of football for us. We just never really played on our terms. We played from behind the whole game, and they played a good game.”
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There are several moving parts here as the Bucs avoided disaster after defensive tackle Vita Vea was carted off of the field in the loss to Washington but was subsequently diagnosed with a bone bruise and a slight MCL sprain. And while that designation will keep him off of the IR, it will likely preclude him from playing on Monday night. Good news for the Giants.
However, it appears Rob Gronkowski will be back after dealing with a back injury throughout much of the season. That’s great news for Brady and just one reason why the Bucs are the sharp play on Monday night.
If you take a look at how the Giants beat the Raiders you will notice they did it primarily running the ball. Now that’s not a terrific gameplan when facing the Bucs as they have the most feared run-stop unit in the league. Naturally, Vita Vea’s absence will weaken that vaunted defensive front but the sledding will be rocky for the Giants, nonetheless, a team without its star running back or an imposing offensive line.
Tom Brady has tossed two interceptions in each of his last two games, losing both of them. He won’t lose a third, especially to a team like New York that ranks 25th in rushing and 24th in points scored, averaging 19.9 PPG. On the flip side, we have the No. 1 passing unit ready to assault the 19th ranked pass defense.
The Bucs are 4-0 straight up and 3-1 ATS at home this season and it’s a perfect time for them to get well against a Giants’ offense that will be strictly one-dimensional due to their inability to run the rock. Daniel Jones versus Tom Brady in an aerial war? Who’s your money on?
NFL Pick: Bucs -10.5 (-110) at BetMGM