Across The Field: Jason Pierre-Paul Returns to MetLife Stadium

The Giants are set to face one of their former stars Monday night when defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and the Bucs come into town.
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A familiar face is coming to MetLife Stadium on Monday night when the Giants take on the Buccaneers, but there won't be many fond sentimental feelings when he takes the field. 

Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who played eight seasons with the Giants from 2010-17, recording 58.5 sacks and winning a Super Bowl, is on a mission to "destroy" his former team on Monday night.

"I'm going to Monday Night Football and I'm going to destroy the Giants," Pierre-Paul said Friday. "This game definitely means something special to me."

It isn't Pierre-Paul's first meeting against the Giants since being traded to Tampa Bay in the 2018 offseason.

The Giants have faced the Buccaneers each of the last two seasons, winning both games, including last year's dramatic 32-31 victory in quarterback Daniel Jones' first career start. 

However, this game will come with a different spotlight and a clean bill of health for Pierre-Paul. 

It will be the first primetime game for Pierre-Paul against the Giants, and he claims that it will also be the first matchup in which he is fully healthy against the Giants. 

"First game [as a Buccaneer against the Giants] I can recall, I got hurt in the Saints game [before it]. We played them for the season opener [and I] got hurt. Played the Giants [again later, but I] was hurt with two MCLs. Then, the second game [against the Giants] they played the second season, I wasn't there. I broke my neck.

"I finally get to play them this year, I'm fully healed and I'm ready to go. I'm trying to see what I can do. I already know what I'm going to do, but I want to see what I can do."

Pierre-Paul's health and motivation have certainly shown up on the stat sheet so far this season, as he leads the team in sacks with 5.5, which also ranks fifth in the NFL. 

Pierre-Paul could have plenty of room to fulfill his mission against a Giants' offensive line that has struggled mightily in pass protection this season. 

The Giants' offensive line has given up 20 sacks so far this season and won't even have a full week of preparation going into the game, as offensive guard Will Hernandez's COVID-19 diagnosis forced four of the team's starters to miss Thursday's practice.

Hernandez will not be available on Monday night due to his diagnosis, meaning the team will also have to adjust to a new lineup and quickly build chemistry with rookie guard Shane Lemieux filling in. 

Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett knows what type of burden Pierre-Paul can bring as an opponent. During Garrett's stint as Cowboys head coach, when Pierre-Paul was still in New York, Garrett had to get his offensive line ready to face the Pro-Bowl pass rusher twice a year. 

"I had the opportunity to [coach] against him a number of times when he was playing here, and I was coaching in Dallas," Garrett said. 

"He’s always been someone that’s been disruptive, both in the run game, affecting the quarterback in the passing game, always had playmaking ability, always one of those guys when you’re breaking the huddle, you’re saying, ‘where’s number 90?’ 

"It’s great to see him continue to do so well in his career, and certainly he’ll be a great challenge for us Monday night."