Written by Cody Manning, @CodyTalksNFL
The Bucs are one of the hottest teams as we head into the midpoint of the season. They handled business on the road against the Las Vegas Raiders, winning 45-20. Tom Brady torched the Vegas secondary by tossing for 369 yards and 4 touchdowns, which has made him enter into the NFL MVP conversation. The combination with the stellar offense and outstanding defense made this an easy win for the Tampa squad. The team will be looking to continue their success against a struggling team in the Giants. This should be a game where they handle their business to improve to a 6-2 record as they have their division rival, the New Orleans Saints, just around the corner. Here are this week’s Top 5 things I want to see on Monday night:
1. The defense has to get their revenge against “Danny Dimes”
Last year when these two teams faced off, “Danny Dimes” was born, as he threw for 336 yards and a couple of touchdowns while he also rushed for 28 yards while scoring two more touchdowns in the process. Since then, he showed some more flashes during his rookie season, but in 2020, he has shown more of the real Daniel Jones, instead of his potential ceiling that he could hit if he put it all together on the field. Tampa’s defense is a real threat to the best offenses in the league, the defensive unit better not get caught slipping as they did in their previous matchup against New York.
2. Does Mike Evans remind everyone who he is?
Evans has only 3 receptions for 47 yards on 4 targets in the past two games. This has led some to wonder if he is lost in the offense, especially with the addition of Antonio Brown, who could be in the lineup as soon as next week. But, when you dive deep, you see is playing less than 100%, and is seeing bracket coverage more times than not. Chris Godwin will miss this game due to an injury, it’s a primetime game, all eyes will be on it, this sets up perfect for people to be reminded that he is another threat in this passing attack. I expect that we will see a classic Evans game as we have seen in a couple of games earlier this season.
3. Can the secondary not allow any explosive plays?
While the defense has been playing lights out over the course of the season, the secondary has had their lapses where they have allowed chunk gains and been beaten over the top for touchdowns. The Giants passing attack isn’t that vertical so they shouldn’t have any problems allowing any big plays. Darius Slayton is the one receiver they need to keep tabs on throughout the game. New York’s offense has struggled to find any consistency this season so if the defense can keep everything in front of them then they should have no problem keeping the G-Men out of scoring position.
4. Are Lavonte David and Devin White in a battle for an All-Pro spot?
David has 55 tackles (41 solo), 5 TFL, 1 INT, 3 PD, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1.5 sacks, and 3 QB Hits. White has 61 tackles (40 solo), 6 TFL, 2 PD, 1 FF, 1 FR, 4 sacks, and 2 QB Hits. Both linebackers are having a great season to this point and are crucial to this defense’s success. Their sideline-to-sideline speed allows them to fly all over the field to make game-changing plays. Which is also why they are the best in the NFL against the run. New York doesn’t have any resemblance of a running attack, the tandem should be able to continue to add to their 2020 resume on Monday night. This will be an interesting follow as we get closer to the end of the season and players separate themselves for honors.
5. Can the team avoid the classic trap game?
As I alluded to earlier, the Buccaneers have a huge Week 9 matchup against the Saints. The two teams opened the season where Tampa lost to New Orleans, 34-23. Cameron Jordan put up some bulletin board quotes since then so I am sure the team is very aware and wants to make sure they split the series. But, they can’t afford to look past the Giants, despite the 1-6 record. There are plenty of instances in NFL history where great teams have lost to terrible teams because they were so focused on next week’s game. First-year head coach, Joe Judge, was with Brady in New England, does he have something up his sleeve? We will see, regardless the Bucs need to handle business in New York.