The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4) haven’t won consecutive games since the 2013 season, but they will look to put that behind them, when they host the NFC East-leading New York Giants (4-4). The Giants are just 2.5-point favorites for the matchup at Raymond James Stadium.
There are some moderate signs of hope for the Bucs after combining for just six wins the past two seasons. Jameis Winston wasn’t around the last time Tampa won two in a row but he was under center last week when the Bucs handed the Falcons their second loss of the season in overtime. The 2015 No. 1 overall pick threw for a modest 177 yards and a score, but for the third straight game, Winston did not turn the ball over. He could be set up for a bigger day throwing the ball against a Giants defense that allowed 505 yards and seven touchdowns last week to Drew Brees. New York lost 52-49 in the third-highest scoring game in NFL history.
The Giants allow 112.1 yards on the ground per game and have a tough test in Week 9 against Doug Martin. He ranks No. 4 in rushing yards (612) and gone over for over 100 rushing yards in three games this season. The Bucs have surpassed the century mark on the ground in five of seven games.
New York’s defense ranks last in yards allowed per game (427.5) and is No. 24 in points allowed (26). It will only help the Bucs if the Giants are forced to play without cornerback Prince Amukamara for a fourth straight game. New York is tied for the league lead with 13 interceptions but ranks last in sacks (9) and could use defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul if he’s able to make his debut this week.
There are only eight teams that give up more points than New York, and the Bucs are one of them (28.4 per game). New York is No. 5 in the NFL in scoring (26.9) and could be primed to put up even more on Sunday. Before holding the Falcons to 20 points in Week 8, Tampa gave up 30 or more in three straight games despite recovering a league-leading nine fumbles.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning threw for 350 yards and a career-high six touchdowns in the offensive explosion against New Orleans, giving him 17 on the year against four interceptions. With 276 career touchdown passes, Manning has moved into 10th on the all-time list and is on pace for a career high in touchdowns and a career low in interceptions. Receiver Odell Beckham Jr., Manning’s No. 1 target, is tied for the league lead in touchdowns (7) and ranks No. 10 in receiving yards (654), including 130 yards and three scores last week.
While the Giants passing game has been solid, the running game has struggled. Rashad Jennings is the lead man but gains less than four yards per carry while Andre Williams gains less than three. The Buccaneers are No. 17 in stopping the run (107.6 yards per game) but held Devonta Freeman to 88 yards after the Atlanta running back had rushed for over 100 in three straight games.
Tom Coughlin’s squad is 1-3 on the road in 2015 while Lovie Smith’s Bucs are 1-2 at home. The Giants last visit to Tampa was in 2009, with New York prevailing, 24-0.