Tampa Bay at NY Giants
Time: 7:15 PM (CST)
Spread: TAM -13.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 5-2 and in command of the NFC South, following back-to-back victories over the Green Bay Packers and Las Vegas Raiders. Staying on the road this week, it travels to face the New York Giants as heavy 13.5-point favorites in the latest odds from NFL Oddsmakers at 5dimes. The over-under is set at 45.5 total points according to Bovada, as well.
Tampa Bay lost three weeks ago to the Chicago Bears, but its last two games have been demolitions of the Green Bay Packers and Las Vegas Raiders, winning by a combined score of 83 to 30. This week could be a continuation of that trend with the Buccaneers heading into this affair as nearly two-touchdown favorites.
The story in Tampa Bay has revolved around the acquisition, and now thriving of, one Tom Brady. Brady has continued his usual dominance in his new uniform, including bringing Rob Gronkowski with him (surely to the chagrin of incumbent tight end OJ Howard). Brady has completed 65.7 percent of his looks to the tune of 1,910 yards, or an average of 273 per game. He has 18 TD passes with four picks, and he has been sacked just eight times over seven games. It is all fairly typical for Brady, but somewhat not for Tampa Bay—to be a contender.
Some of Brady’s dominance must be credited to the work of his backfield. Ronald Jones II and Leonard Fournette have given the Bucs a formidable rush attack, with Jones doing the heavy lifting but Fournette flourishing in his 35 carries, as well. Jones has a 4.6 yard-per-carry average to go along with his four touchdowns and team-high 29 first downs. Fournette is good for nearly five yards per-carry, while having rushed for two TDs and a 34.6 yard per game average. Overall, Tampa Bay is good for 4.1 yards-per-carry, with Tom Brady being about the least successful at just 0.4 per-carry on his 16 attempts.
The backfield has been bolstered in its own right, as well, by the receivers. Scott Miller has caught 22 of 32 targeted passes for 365 yards and two TDs. Mike Evans has a team-best six touchdowns on his 25 receptions, and “Gronk” has been his usual self ranking No. 3 in yardage and No. 4 in first downs. The pieces all mostly add up to spell “contender,” and Tampa Bay has all the fundamental traits of such a team, at least so far, early on. While the Bucs are just 2-2 on the road, this game should put it in the green away from home. Tampa ranks No. 8 in pass offense while being in the bottom-third of overall rush production. But these figures are at least somewhat misleading, considering the production of its top-two running backs, and the fact that the overall offense is really moving the chains. Tampa averages 31.7 points per game, which is good for No. 2 in the NFL. Brace up, Giants.
The New York Giants find itself just 1-6 following another loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. It notched its lone victory last week against Washington.
The Giants are not particularly good at any aspect of the game: It ranks No. 30 in pass offense, No. 27 in rush offense, and a third-worst overall 17.4 points per game. The defense has been marginally decent, but holding opponents to just under 25 points per game will not equate to a lot of wins as bad as the “O” has been.
To be sure, having an inexperienced QB is playing its role, but Daniel Jones is not even getting good pass protection. His 20 sacks speak to that, which have leveled out to a massive loss of 120 yards. His 61.9 percent completion ratio seems solid until his 6.1 yards-per-catch and seven interceptions are viewed. Jones showed plenty of promise in the NCAA, but that was because the Duke Blue Devils put the offensive line in front of him to allow him time to make good decisions. He has the arm. Jones also leads the team in rushing, to his credit, averaging a crazy 9.5 yards-per-carry on his 31 attempts, including 11 first downs. The issue is he has nearly twice as many yards as No. 1 backfield option Devonta Freeman, who tallies just 3.2 yards-per-carry.
Even with his flaws, Jones has shown sufficient potential to justify his draft selection. The problem is that he has so little help, and the overall offense is just lacking playmakers in a major way. Darius Slayton averages 61.3 yards per game, but he’s missed 20 targeted looks thus far, and Evan Engram ranks No. 2 in receiving yards with similarly poor efficiency. The Giants are rebuilding, but count this as one year in that stretch—this team cannot hang with competitive contending teams, and Tampa Bay should not have much of a problem with Jones and company at this early juncture in a rather nebulous building effort.