The second game of the year for the Giants has become a important one. With the schedule they have, the Giants cannot afford to start 0-2 and have both those losses coming at home. I do not want to sound overly critical at this early point in the season, but the Giants need to win this game to remain competitive in what looks like a good NFC East.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming to New York 1-0 with a win against the Carolina Panthers. The Bucs have a new look to them with former Rutgers Head Coach, Greg Schiano, leading the way. Schiano has been known throughout his career for being a defensive minded coach. Aside from the coach, Tampa Bay has some important new faces, including wideout Vincent Jackson, rookie running back Doug Martin, and rookie safety Mark Barron. Tampa’s defense looked extremely quick last week and were able to shut down the Panthers run game, which was one of the best last season.
Keys to the Game: The Giants, must stop the run in this game and force Josh Freeman to throw the ball. Freeman is prone to make a mistake and if New York’s defensive line creates pressure, that propensity to make mistakes will just be exacerbated.
New York’s receivers must catch the ball, and pick up yards after the catch. I am assuming that as usual the Giants will not be able to do anything in the run game, thus it becomes pivotal for Nicks, Cruz and Bennett to make plays in the passing game. Cruz cannot afford to drop twenty thousand passes this week.
Lastly, the Giants secondary has to play defense. Last week the secondary did not look prepared to play football and if they are not ready this week, Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams will torch them.
Injuries: The Giants have suffered many injuries this training camp, but it looks like they are getting healthier. Prince Amukamara is questionable right now after suffering an ankle injury in pre-season. Michael Coe is probable with the hamstring injury he sustained last week against Dallas. It appears that Marvin Austin will indeed play his first game in several years, but I would expect very little out of him. Keith Rivers is listed as doubtful with his hamstring injury. Rivers has been an injury case his entire career and it appears nothing will stop that. Hakeem Nicks played last week, but was not that effective. Nicks did not participate in many practices during the week, so hopefully his foot is almost healed and he can perform better.
As for Tampa Bay it appears that just about everyone will be on the field for them. LeGarrette Blount is probable after sustaining a stinger in his last game. Bucs tackle Jeremy Trueblood is questionable with an ankle injury and corner E.J. Biggers is doubtful with a foot injury.
This should be a close game. It is impossible to pick against the Giants, for the fact that this game is much more important to them than it is for the Bucs. Expect a hard fought game with the Giants pulling away in the fourth quarter. Giants 21 Buccaneers 13.