Jason Pierre-Paul makes his much-anticipated season debut when the New York Giants (4-4) visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4) at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday.
New York's veteran defensive end has not played this season after injuring his right hand in a fireworks accident on July 4, but he’s been practicing since signing a deal last week to play out the remainder of the season. Pierre-Paul is a welcomed addition to a defensive unit with the fewest sacks in the NFL. He has 42.0 sacks in five seasons with New York, including 12.5 in 2014.
As a group, New York’s defense ranks last in yards allowed per game (427.5) and is No. 24 in points allowed (26). The unit looked quite vulnerable against the New Orleans Saints last week, surrendering 608 total yards. However, the Giants are tied for the league lead with 13 interceptions, but will be without injured cornerback Prince Amukamara for a fourth straight game.
Bucs rookie quarterback Jameis Winston completed a modest 16-of-29 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown in last week’s 23-20 overtime win against Atlanta. But for the third straight game, Winston didn’t turn the ball over and has four scores against zero interceptions in his last three games.
New York allows 112.1 yards on the ground per game, and faces a tough test against Doug Martin. He ranks No. 4 in rushing yards (612) and has gone over 100 rushing yards in three games this season. The Bucs have surpassed the century mark on the ground in five of seven games.
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 the NFC East leaders 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.
Eli Manning is coming off a strong effort last week. He threw for 350 yards and a career-high six touchdowns against New Orleans, giving him 17 on the year against four interceptions. Manning’s top target, Odell Beckham Jr., 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.
The Giants’ air assault has worked but the run has struggled, as New York ranks No. 27 in rush yards per game (94.5). The Buccaneers are No. 17 in stopping the run (107.6 yards per game) but held Devonta Freeman to 88 yards after the Atlanta Falcons running back had rushed for over 100 in three straight games.
Coughlin’s squad is 1-3 on the road in 2015 while Lovie Smith’s Bucs are 1-2 at home.
Start Time: 4:05 p.m.
TV Channel: FOX
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go