Skip to main content

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3) have a chance to snap a two-game losing streak this week when faces off against the New York Giants (3-6) on Monday Night Football.

It's the Bucs' first Monday Night game of the season and their first primetime matchup since playing the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 6. 

A lot has changed for both teams since then. The Giants have won two of the last three games while the Bucs have dropped two of three. In terms of playoff aspirations, a win here for either team will be very helpful down the stretch.

So who steps up and gets it done? Let's dive into this week's game preview.


Tom Brady and Mike Evans have connected for nine touchdowns on the year so far.

Tom Brady and Mike Evans have connected for nine touchdowns on the year so far.

What To Watch For

  • A primetime response: The NFL world is wondering what's going on with the Bucs after their upset loss to Washington. The Bucs have a chance to answer the wonderment with a big win in front of the country on Monday Night Football. Sure, a blowout would be great in terms of a conversation and style points, but the Bucs just need to win, right now. 
  • Chris Godwin's presence and Gronk's return: Godwin missed last year's contest because he had just come off surgery to repair a broken finger he suffered against the Raiders the week before. Rob Gronkowski, as we all know, has played just six snaps since Week 3, but returns to action in this game. Gronk caught a touchdown last year, while Godwin will create matchup issues all over the field. Having both players for this game will go a long way in helping the Bucs. 
  • Offensive line rebound: The Bucs offensive line -especially the interior- did not fare well against Washington, which is a surprise. The trio of Ali Marpet, Ryan Jensen, and Alex Cappa form one of the league's better trios of interior offensive linemen and their poor performance caught Bruce Arians by surprise. Regardless, the Bucs' front five now faces a defensive line that contains the likes of Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams, two players who can really reset the line of scrimmage and get after the quarterback. Washington's ability to pressure Brady was the reason why the Bucs only scored 19 points last week. The Bucs offensive line can't let that happen again.
  • A healthy Giants offense: The Giants are getting some big pieces to the offensive puzzle back this week. Both Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney return. So should Andrew Thomas, in some capacity. I'm not a genius by any means, but it's usually a good sign when you get your No. 1 receiver, rookie first-round draft pick, and starting left tackle back on the field. 
  • Disguising defenses: Logan Ryan went into great detail last week about how important it is for defenses to avoid giving Tom Brady clean looks and a lot of his teammates furthered that sentiment. Brady even spoke on how much the Giants defense forces you to "look at the entire shell" on Saturday and that he doesn't expect to get many clean looks this week. The Bucs defense is also a defense that disguises on a regular basis. It will be fun to watch how Todd Bowles and Pat Graham draw up their game plans for this game.

Impact Players

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • QB Tom Brady: Brady can't afford to have another bad game. The Bucs can't afford him to, either.
  • TE Rob Gronkowski: The big man is good to go, but this was thought to be the case against the Saints and we know how that turned out. Regardless, having Gronk back is huge as long as he can play.
  • WR Chris Godwin: Godwin is top-10 in receiving yards per game (79.7) and leads the team in receptions. He missed last year's game, so it will be interesting to see how he does this week.
  • DL Ndamukong Suh: Vita Vea will likely miss this game, therfore, Suh will need to pick it up in his stead. 
  • LB Lavonte David: The Giants don't run the ball much, but that may change this week with Saquon Barkley's return and the recent play of Devontae Booker. Either way, David's abilities will be much needed. 
  • S Antoine Winfield Jr.: Winfield's range and ability to play in the box will go a long way when it comes to guarding Golladay's abilitiy as a deep threat and Toney's multi-dimensional game.

Read More

New York Giants

  • QB Daniel Jones: Jones is one of the league's biggest boom-or-bust players at the position. The Giants need him to boom on Monday night.
  • RB Saquon Barkley: The Giants offense is so much different and so much more effective when Barkley is in the game, but how much will he play in this game remains to be seen. 
  • WR Kenny Golladay: The former Lion had his best game of the year against the Saints before a knee injury took him out of the Cowboys game and caused him to miss the following three games. Tampa Bay's reeling secondary will have its hands full with him.
  • DL Leonard Williams: The former top-5 draft pick is having an outstanding year and is looking to further exploit a Bucs offensive line that got pushed around last week.
  • OLB Azeez Ojulari: The rookie is tied for the team lead in sacks (5.5) and also has 6.0 tackles for loss on the year, which is tied for the team lead. Donovan Smith and Tristan Wirfs need to be ready for him.
  • CB James Bradberry: He has a solid history when defending Mike Evans, but Evans is the healthiest he's been in a while, which will certainly mike Bradberry's life that much harder.

Cool Stats

  • Since Week 4, Leonard Fournette has averaged 100.2 scrimmage yards per contest, which ranks as the fifth-most among running backs during that span. He also has 17 receiving first downs this season, which are tied for the fourth-most among running backs in 2021.
  • Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles inherited the league's 27th-ranked defense. Since joining Tampa Bay, Bowles completely transformed the team's defensive unit, finishing as the league's sixth-ranked defense in 2020 and currently ranking ninth in 2021.
  • Godwin needs 70 receiving yards to surpass Vincent Jackson (4,326) for the fourth-most receiving yards in team history
  • Evans needs one touchdown to surpass Mike Alstott (71) for the most total touchdowns in team history.

*Stats provided by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Communications Department

The Bucs better be ready for Leonard Williams.

The Bucs better be ready for Leonard Williams.

Game Outlook

It's already easy enough to look at this game and wonder if the Bucs can pull out a win. It's even easier to question if it can happen when you throw in last year's results and how the Giants almost took the Bucs to overtime, where anything can happen.

These two teams are on different paths right now. The Giants are just a play or two away from being 3-0 with wins over the Panthers, Chiefs, and Raiders while the Bucs are on a two-game skid that includes losses to the Trevor Siemian-led Saints and athe formerly 2-6 Washington Football Team. One team is playing with a ton of confidence while the other, well, is not.

But that could all change on Monday Night Football. The Bucs are playing at home, where they are a completely different team and the crowd at Raymond James Stadium will be geared up and ready to go, which will help in the grand scheme of things. If the Bucs can kill the penalties, avoid the turnovers, and get off the field on third down, then they should win this game, easily.

The problem is they haven't been doing that, lately. Like, at all. The Giants, on the other hand, have been avoiding turnovers and have been getting off the field on third down over their last three games.

Both teams have enough pieces in the right places to win this game, but at the end of the day, the Bucs have the better overall team. And I do think for just this week, they cut down on the stupid mistakes and play their game en route to their seventh win of the season.

But it won't be easy, by any means. Expect a fun, yet stressful game (for Bucs and Giants fans) on Monday Night Football.

Stay tuned to AllBucs for further coverage of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and other NFL news and analysis. Follow along on social media at @SIBuccaneers on Twitter and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sports Illustrated on Facebook.