Skip to main content

5 major storylines heading into Monday Night’s New York Giants vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers matchup

Jason Leach

The (3-6) New York Giants will take on the (6-3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday night, in what is one of the most intriguing matchups of Week 11.

New York versus Tampa Bay has become an annual contest as this will be the fifth consecutive season these two teams have played one another, with each team winning two games.

The Giants are coming off their bye week and are looking to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. The Buccaneers are looking to rebound from last week’s 29-19 loss to Washington and stay atop of the NFC South.

In addition to both teams needing a win, there are five major storylines heading into Monday night’s game.

Related: NFL games today – 2022 NFL schedule

Can Daniel Jones finally win a primetime game?

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at New York Giants
Nov 7, 2021; East Rutherford, N.J., USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) throws against the Las Vegas Raiders in the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The jury is still out on whether Daniel Jones can be the Giants’ quarterback of the future. He’s shown signs of improvement this season, but his play is still inconsistent.

One of the reasons there are doubts surrounding Jones is his inability to shine when the lights are at their brightest. Jones is 0-7 in primetime games, including last year’s 25-23 loss to the Bucs where he threw two critical interceptions.

If Jones wants to silence his critics, the best way to do that is to defeat the defending Super Bowl champions and come away with his first primetime victory.

Is the Giants defense for real?

NFL: Carolina Panthers at New York Giants
Oct 24, 2021; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants defensive end Leonard Williams (99) gestures in front of nose tackle Austin Johnson (98) against the Carolina Panthers during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Through the first six weeks of the season, New York’s defense struggled mightily, giving up 29.5 points per game and sacking opposing quarterbacks just 10 times. In their last three games against the Panthers, Chiefs, and Raiders, the defense stepped up, giving up 13 points per game while recording nine sacks.

Even with Antonio Brown out with an ankle injury, the Buccaneers are loaded with offensive firepower with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Leonard Fournette.

If the Giants defense can continue their dominant ways against one of the best offenses in the league in Tampa, then it will prove that Big Blue’s defense is one of the best in the league.

Related: NFL defense rankings – Huge shakeups for top 20 defense before training camp

How will Saquon Barkley look in his return?

NFL: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
Oct 10, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) carries the ball in the first quarter as Dallas Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown (30) defends at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

After missing the last four games due to a sprained ankle, all signs point to Saquon Barkley making his return on Monday night. Barkley is officially listed as questionable, but he was able to practice all week on a limited basis.

If the Giants are going to make a run toward the playoffs in the second half of the season, they’ll need a healthy Barkley. It will be interesting to see how their star running back fares against the Bucs 2nd ranked run defense. Tampa could be without their best run stopper in Vita Vea, which could bode well for Barkley to have a productive game in his return.

Will the receivers be able to exploit the Bucs secondary?

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants
Sep 26, 2021; E. Rutherford, N.J., USA; New York Giants wide receiver Kenny Golladay (19) runs with the ball as Atlanta Falcons linebacker Steven Means (55) defends at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

With the exception of Sterling Shepard who has been ruled out due to a groin injury, all of the Giants’ top receivers; Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, and Darius Slayton will be on the field at Tampa.

The weakness in the Buccaneers’ defense is their secondary as they’re giving up 254 yards per game through the air which is 22nd in the NFL.

Big Blue’s receivers going up against Tampa’s secondary is the biggest advantage New York has in this game. Look for offensive coordinator Jason Garrett to dial-up plays where his receivers can exploit the Bucs’ vulnerable secondary.

Related: 2022 NFL Power Rankings – Outlook for all 32 teams entering summer

Will this be Tom Brady’s last game against the Giants?

NFL: New England Patriots at New York Giants
Aug 30, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) shakes hands with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) after their game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady will go down as the greatest quarterback in NFL history. But his record against the Giants is 5-3 and two of those losses occurred in dramatic fashion in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI.

You can’t mention Brady’s legacy without mentioning the two times Eli Manning and the Giants got the best of him on the biggest stage.

Since New York ended Brady and the New England Patriots‘ bid at perfection in Super Bowl XLII, there’s been added magnitude any time Brady has faced the Giants.

However, there is a very good possibility Monday night will be the last time Brady faces the franchise that has haunted him the most. The quarterback that is referred to as the G.O.A.T is only under contract until the end of this season, and even if he returns next season, the Giants will play the NFC North. This means New York and Tampa Bay will only play next season if they finish in the same standing as their respective divisions. Monday night could be the final chapter of Brady’s historic rivalry with Big Blue.