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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will cap off the NFC East portion of their schedule this Monday when they host the New York Giants at Raymond James Stadium, a battle between a Bucs' squad riding a two-game losing streak and a Giants team that is struggling but has also played its best ball of the season over its last three games.

For Tampa Bay, this is an opportunity to turn the tides in front of a home crowd. For New York, a chance to upset a third NFC South team this year and build some momentum in the second half of the season is on th

Patricia Traina of Giants Country stops by to answer our questions about New York and to preview the Week 11 matchup.

1. It looks like Saquon Barkley is on track to return after missing four games with an ankle injury. What are your expectations for the fourth-year back against a typically stout Buccaneers' rushing defense?

Patricia Traina: The Bucs have a very strong run defense, no doubt. But I’d be very surprised if the Giants’ primary emphasis of attack is through the running game. I think while we’ll see Barkley Monday night, I’m not expecting him to get a lot of touches. It makes more sense for the Giants to attack the Bucs via the passing game, especially since Kadarius Toney and Kenny Golladay had an extra week to get themselves right from their injuries.

2. What has led to New York's defensive regression this season compared to last? Even though Tampa Bay's offense has been humbled over its last two games, how concerning is this matchup for the Giants?

PT: I think you can point to a couple of things. The early-season loss of ILB Blake Martinez to a torn ACL combined with the loss in free agency of defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson. I don’t care what anyone says—those two were key components in stopping the run, and I believe that once the run-stopping dynamic changed, the approach to playing coverage did as well. That led to defensive coordinator Patrick Graham going from playing man-press with James Bradberry, which we thought we’d see more of this year after the addition of Adoree' Jackson, to having the corners play off their assigned men. That does not play into the strength of the talent they have. 

Graham has since streamlined the defense and gone back to more of what’s worked, and the unit has been playing well enough to where there is once again talk of Graham being the next hot head coaching candidate. But the defense was pretty rough looking early on, and I hope that doesn’t end up costing them in the playoff race should they get themselves into it.

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3. It's been another unproductive year for Daniel Jones thus far, although to his credit he seems to have cut down on turnovers. How much can he prove against a banged-up Bucs defense and what does his future look like in New York?

PT: A lot. Thus far, we’ve only seen glimpses of Jones being the difference maker rather than just a game manager. Of late, he’s been more of the latter than the former. But more importantly, the Giants need to deliver in this game as they have yet to stack back-to-back wins this season. They have a fairly easy schedule the rest of the way, so if they want to fulfill their objective of hitting the playoffs, they have to start at least playing clean and competitive football. That starts with Jones staying in his lane rather than trying to do everything by his lonesome, which I think he tried to do last year against the Bucs (and for which I remember Bruce Arians commenting about how Jones tried to do too much).

4. What is the X-factor for New York to extend Tampa Bay's losing streak to three games?

PT: Simple. Don’t shoot themselves in the foot. If I had a dollar for every time this season the Giants did something stupid such as a dropped pass, a missed tackle, or an ill-timed penalty, I probably could afford a nice steak dinner for two (sorry, the other would be my hubby). I think despite the record, this Giants team is far more talented than it's shown, and it’s getting back some reinforcement on offense—I’m pretty certain Saquon Barkley is going to play this week. But having all the talent in the world doesn’t matter if you’re committing stupid mistakes.

5. What is your prediction for the game and why?

PT: The Giants not only don’t fare well on Monday Night Football (especially on the road), but they have not been a good team historically speaking after a bye. While I don’t think I’d bet the ranch on the Bucs covering the 11.5 point spread, I do see Tampa Bay pulling this one out by a comfortable point margin.

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