Tom Brady gets to exorcise some personal demons vs. the Giants
"Monday Night Football" features the New York Giants hosting Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brady has had some memorable losses to New York in his career including two in the Super Bowl when Eli Manning was under center for Big Blue. These two teams played last year with the Giants upsetting the Bucs on the road as a late Daniel Jones rushing touchdown gave New York the win. Both Jones and Jameis Winston threw for more than 300 yards in that game. The Giants have won seven of the last eight meetings between the two teams.
Tampa Bay (5-2) is feeling good after an impressive 45-20 road win at Las Vegas in which Brady threw for 369 yards. He completed passes to nine different players including Scotty Miller who put up 109 yards and a touchdown. Defensively is where this team shines, though, holding five opponents to 20 points or less. The Buccaneers get pressure on the quarterback and have an underrated secondary.
New York (1-6), meanwhile, has had extra time to digest a tough loss to the Eagles last Thursday night that saw the Giants blow a lead late. For the fourth time this season, Jones was the team's leading passer and the leading rusher. The defense doesn't get enough credit for what it's done, limiting four teams to 24 points or less.
Tampa Bay has not been on "Monday Night Football" since 2018 when the Bucs lost 30-27 at home to the Steelers. Meanwhile, this is the Giants' second time playing on Monday after losing at home to the Steelers in Week 1. Since 2010, they are 6-11 on MNF.
Monday Night Football: Tampa Bay at New York
Kickoff: Monday, Nov. 2 at 8:15 p.m. ET
Spread: Buccaneers -10.5
Three Things to Watch
I think there's a chance focus could be an issue for Tampa Bay. This will be the Buccaneers' third road game over the last four weeks in a stretch that featured games against the Bears and Packers. Also, there is a massive look-ahead factor with a home game against the Saints coming up, a team they lost to back in Week 1. I'm not saying Tampa is going to lose, but it's something to consider. On the Giants' side, they have had extra time to prepare after playing last Thursday in Philadelphia. A team like this cannot afford to look-ahead to anybody so that shouldn't be an issue.
2. COVID Issues?
Giants offensive lineman Will Hernandez has tested positive for COVID-19 and was placed on the reserve list. Because of this, the team has quarantined all but four offensive linemen. Two coaches also were sent home because of "close contact." It'll be something to watch as the week goes on because I can't imagine the team's backups are any good considering the starters have been brutal. Rookie tackle Andrew Thomas, the fourth overall pick in this year's draft, has had a rough introduction to NFL. He is among the league leaders in pressures allowed. Tampa Bay's defense is second in the league with 25 sacks and is no stranger to the situation New York is dealing with having faced the Raiders (at one point all but four O-linemen were on the Reserve/COVID-19 list and starting right tackle Trent Brown missed the game) last week.
3. Run game questions
Ronald Jones was enjoying being the top option in the Tampa Bay backfield, but last week he accounted for only 36 total yards. That presented Leonard Fournette with an opportunity to get more touches and he made the most of it. The former Jaguar finished with 97 total yards on 17 total touches (11 carries, 6 receptions). It'll be interesting to see how the carries are distributed on Monday night as the Buccaneers also have LeSean McCoy and Ke'Shawn Vaughn. The Giants' problem is that no one has stepped up to replace Saquon Barkley or even provided much of a spark. Devonta Freeman, Dion Lewis, and Wayne Gallman have all had their chances, but none have really grabbed hold of the job. Gallman stepped in last week when Freeman left with an ankle injury, and with Freeman no lock to play this week, he could get the bulk of the carries once again. The problem is the Buccaneers are No. 1 in the NFL against the run, giving up just 66 yards per game and only three per carry.
The Buccaneers are going to win this game, but the question is by how much. The Giants' O-line story is something to watch as we get closer to kickoff because Daniel Jones will struggle if even one of the starters is out. He'll probably struggle anyway. Still, I think it's a somewhat sleepy Bucs effort as this game is a little closer than it should be.
Prediction: Buccaneers 27, Giants 17
— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.