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The pressure really will be on in the Big Apple if the Giants lose a second straight game at home to open the season 2-0 – only a couple of teams have won the Super Bowl starting a season with two losses, although the 2007 Giants were one of them.
Tampa Bay was a home dog in Week 1 but pulled out a 16-10 victory over Carolina in coach Greg Schiano’s Bucs coaching debut. The Bucs defense, which allowed an NFL-worst 494 points last year, held the Panthers to just 10 rushing yards and picked off Cam Newton twice. Josh Freeman threw a 6-yard, first-quarter touchdown pass, and Connor Barth kicked field goals of 36, 20 and 40 yards for Tampa Bay. Freeman was inconsistent with his accuracy in the preseason (56 percent completion percentage) but performed much better (67 percent) in their opener. Bucs rookie RB Doug Martin had a nice debut with 95 yards rushing.
The Giants were beaten in the Wednesday night opener by Dallas 24-17 after sweeping the Cowboys in 2011. Eli Manning was a quiet 21 for 32 for 213 yards and a score. The Cowboys sent five or more rushers after Eli Manning on 10 of his 35 dropbacks (28.6 percent) Wednesday after doing so nearly 38 percent of the time last season. The less aggressive approach made the Cowboys’ added rushes more effective, with all three sacks on Manning coming when sending five or more.
Giants star WR Victor Cruz dropped three passes in a single game for the first time in his career Wednesday night. Cruz is the first Giants player with 3 drops in a game since Mario Manningham in 2009 Week 4.
New York only rushed the ball 19 times for only 82 yards in their Week 1 loss. The Buccaneers only yielded 10 yards in their opener but had been marginal during the preseason (164 yard per contest) defending the run, and you could question whether Carolina was committed enough. Look for Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride to force feed the football to his backs with a physical running game. In particular expect isolation and off-tackle power runs, as well as more perimeter plays with Ahmad Bradshaw and David Wilson to set the tone of the game and set up play action passes.
Tampa Bay and the Giants haven’t played since 2009.
BUCS NOTES: Head coach Greg Schiano returns to NJ. Was born in Wyckoff, NJ & was head coach at Rutgers for 11 seasons (2001-11). Off. Coor. Mike Sullivan spent 8 years as coach with NYG (2004-11) & won 2 SBs … Since 2010, QB Josh Freeman is 1 of 2 QBs with 7,000 pass (7,181) & 600 rush (615) yards (Aaron Rodgers). Had 95.5 rating last week & when Freeman has 95 rating, Bucs are 10-4 (.714) … Rookie RB Doug Martin rushed for 95 yards & had 4 catches for 23 yards in NFL debut. RB LeGarrette Blount has 7 career 100-yard games … WR Vincent Jackson had 2 TDs in only game vs. NYG (11/8/09 with SD). Since 2008, Jackson avg. 17.88 yards per catch, best in NFL (min. 200 catches). WR Mike Williams had TD catch last week. TE Dallas Clark aims for 3rd in row vs. NYG with TD … Defense allowed 10 rush yards last week, tying club record. CB Ronde Barber started 200th consecutive game last week, most by CB in NFL history. Had sack & INT. Is only player in NFL annals with 25 sacks (28) & 40 INTs (44).
GIANTS NOTES: Head coach Tom Coughlin is 3-0 vs. TB with NYG (incl. playoffs) … QB Eli Manning is 3-0 in career vs. TB (incl. playoffs). In those 3, has completed 50 of 82 (61 pct.) for 500 yards with 5 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 98.6 rating. In past 6 starts (incl. postseason), Manning has 106.9 rating, completing 151 of 228 (66.2 pct.) for 1,778 yards with 13 TDs vs. 1 INT. NYG is 5-1 in those 6 … In last meeting, RB Ahmad Bradshaw rushed for 104 yards (14 att., 7.4 avg.). Has 8 100-yard rushing games in career & team has won all 8. Rushed for TD last week & aims for 3rd in row with rush TD (incl. playoffs) … WR Victor Cruz has 9 career rec. TDs & avg. 52 yards per TD (468 yards). Has 5 TDs of 65 yards & 8 TDs of 20 yards. WR Hakeem Nicks has 2 catches in all 24 career home games (incl. playoffs). TE Martellus Bennett had TD catch in NYG debut last week … DE Jason Pierre-Paul has 6 sacks in past 5. In WC meeting (1/6/08), CB Corey Webster had INT & FR. NYG is 12-4 when Webster has INT (incl. playoffs).
BOVADA.LV TRENDS: Buccaneers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS win. Buccaneers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs. NFC. Buccaneers are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games overall. Buccaneers are 0-4 ATS vs. a team with a losing record. Giants are 8-0 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. Giants are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall. Giants are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. NFC. Under is 7-0 in the last 7 meetings. Road team is 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.