Written by: Tony “The Prophet” Yantosca
I’ll start this week’s Pulpit the same way I started the week 1 issue. The Giants have 2 chances to win this game, slim and none. Slim left town Friday in a hurry on the first bus out of the Meadowlands that he could get because he does not want to be around for the slaughter.
The Giants play the Buccaneers for the fourth year in a row and the fifth time in six years. It must be that both teams have been near the bottom of their divisions during that period. The Giants are wearing their 1990 vintage uniforms trying to conjure up the spirits from that great team. It won’t matter if they are rags, there’s no help for this group.
Last year’s meeting was the first game for #DannyTurnover. The Giants won 32-31 when Matt Gay missed a chip shot 34-yard field goal for the win as time ran out. If the Giants had lost, they would have drafted second and could have gotten supreme edge rusher, Chase Young. In an alternative universe, they could have drafted Justin Herbert at 4 by waiting a year at quarterback given that the 2019 quarterback class was the worst compared to 2018, 2020 and 2021.
The Giants have had 10 days to stew over blowing an 11-point lead with 6:31 left in the game. Once again, the defense which overall has been better than expected; however, cannot stop anyone when the game is on the line. They could not stop Dallas from their own 12-yard line with 52 seconds left. Dallas makes it all the way down to the Giants 16-yard line to kick the game winning field goal before time expires. By the way this was against Andy Dalton who had no first team reps that week because he came in off the bench when Dak got knocked out.
The Giants are catching a red-hot Buccaneers team. With no OTA’s and no preseason, it took Brady several weeks to get everyone on the same page and up to his standards. They lost on a short week on a Thursday to Chicago. The team was undisciplined in that game and had injuries. The Bucs had 11 penalties in that game that cost them the win. By the next week Brady exercised the Patriots Way in Tampa and they had 0 penalties and only 4 last week. The Bucs team that was used to the relaxed way of Ariens got a wakeup call and a can of Patriots Ass Whop! This culminated last week with a dominant win over the Raiders on the road, 45-20. Brady threw for 3 touchdowns and ran one in. He is using everyone besides the household names of Evans, Godwin and Gronk. Scotty Miller is in play for a big game vs the Giants with Godwin out. Brady also threw a touchdown to Johnson last week.
The only way that the Giants can win is to generate A-Gap pressure right up the middle to rush and sack Brady. It has been no secret that the rush by the D-Line has been the Kryptonite for Brady and Peyton Manning for over 20 years. Spags revved up the NASCAR package in Super Bowl 42 vs Brady. Justin Tuck was the real Super Bowl MVP in that game, but they always give it to the quarterback. The Giants have 18 sacks on the year. They will need Williams, Lawrence, and Tomlinson to step it up.
The Buccaneers have a balanced attack. Ronald Jones has finally turned out to be the back they drafted capable of 100-yard games. Fournette has found new life with the Brady elixir. He can back him up and catch balls. Brady has more weapons than he ever had. He has Evans, Godwin (out for this game), Miller, and Johnson. He had a trio of tight ends, Gronk, OJ Howard (out for the year) and Brate. Brady can still run 12 personnel with OJ on IR for the year, that was a staple in New England reminiscent of the glory years of Gronk and Hernandez.
One big positive for the Giants is Bradberry who will travel with Evans. Evans disappears when he is covered by an elite corner. I can remember when Lattimore in their twice a year series with the Saints would hold him to 0 catches. However, Brady has plenty more weapons at his disposal. He has been used to working with bad weapons over the years in New England. He has made nobodies like Reche Caldwell relevant! What do you think he can do with this group?
When the Giants have the ball, they will have to get their yards through the air. The Bucs are number 1 vs the run giving up 66 yards a game. With Freeman out, Gallman will be the main runner, but I am predicting the Giants will have 30 yards rushing in this game by the running backs. The wild card is Jones on then ground. He had his infamous 80 yard run last week where he was tackled by the turf monster. The Bucs have given up at least 14 yards to the quarterback in 4 of the last 5 games. So, this is the only Giants opportunity in the run game. However, I am sure the Bucs are game planning to keep these runs to a minimum.
Jones has only thrown for more than 200 once in the last 5 games. He only has 5 touchdowns vs 7 interceptions. If the Giants can’t run, they will be in 2nd and 3rd and long all night. The Bucs will rev up the pash rush. Gholston has 17 tackles, 9 solo, 4 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks. Suh has 18 tackles, 10 solos, 4 tackles for loss, and 3 sacks. Jason Pierre-Paul is out for blood vs the Gmen in a revenge game. He is having his best year since his early years with the Giants, 21 tackles, 11 solo, 5,5 tackles for loss, and 5.5 sacks!
This means with all this pressure vs a suspect offensive line, there will be turnovers. Andrew Thomas who has been a bust so far is giving up the most pressures in the league on pass plays. With Will Hernandez out with COVID, Lemieux gets his first start. With this rookie still learning the ropes, #DannyTurnover will give up 3 or 4 turnovers and this is how the Bucs win the game. For those keeping track at home, (and believe me I do!)#DannyTurnover has 34 turnovers in 19 games with another 8 fumbles that were recovered by the Giants. If you read these columns, you know The Prophet never wanted him on 4/25/19, and this is the reason why!
The Giants do not play well at home. Maybe they have felt the pressure because of all the losing. They don’t have to deal with that on the road. Since the start of the 2017 season, the Giants are 6-21 straight up at home! The Giants always play better on the road. They are a good bet to cover and not win on the road. I think they are 15-3 against the spread on the road their last 18 games. The prediction is a slaughter due to the Tampa pass rush. I am calling this Tampa Bay 35 and the Giants 9. That makes them 1-7 and in the number 2 spot in the 2021 NFL draft. They play Washington next week and it seems that they are the only team Daniel Jones can beat!