al_curtiss

This week, we go back to North Jersey for the insightful analysis of Al Curtiss.  Al was all over it when he predicted Washington to beat the Bucs with a late touchdown pass.  Let’s see what the “Sage” of Caldwell” has to say about the G-Men who are travelling to Tampa to take on the Pewter Pirates today.

LH:The Giants put up 49 points at New Orleans and lost. How did that happen?

AC:Two words, “Drew Brees.”  Besides a pick six, the Giant’s defense just had no

answers.  The Saint’s turned it into a 5-on-5  basketball game and Brees was like
a point guard consistently finding the open man.

LH:As a coach, you don’t want one loss becoming two. Was last week’s loss so
devastating that it could effect New York Sunday at Raymond James Stadium?

AC:The Giant’s entire season has been marked by devastating fourth quarter losses,
starting with the season opening 27-26 loss to Dallas and followed by the 24-20
loss to Atlanta.  A lot of the blame has gone to the defense for not getting a key fourth quarter stop, but the offense has compounded their late-in-game loss woes by not making a
key first down to eat clock or by turning it over.  With that said, I don’t think
last week’s loss will carry over to this weekend. The Giant’s are getting Jason
Pierre-Paul back and they are going against a team with a rookie QB and porous
secondary, so I think they are excited to get to Florida.

LH:Eli Manning looks like he’s playing at a high level this year. What’s led to that
turnaround from the debacle of last season for #10?

AC:He is now in his second year of Ben McAdoo’s system, so he is more comfortable
with the offense.  More importantly, Odell Beckham is in his second year and his
presence on the field is huge. He give’s Eli someone he knows will “go get the
ball” if he just throws it up there, and just as importantly, he stretches the
defense to make those underneath throws a lot easier to complete.

LH:How much does this team miss Victor Cruz?

AC:While Odell  is Eli’s big-play threat, Cruz is his security blanket, and he greatly missed him. Once Cruz gets back on the field (not this week) it will really make the Giant’s passing game dangerous.  Dwayne Harris is starting to fill Cruz’s role for Eli, but they still need to get Cruz on the field.

LH:Drew Brees and the Saints dropped 52 on the G-Men last week. Was that an
aberration or is the defense that bad?

AC:The 52 points scored by New Orleans was  an aberration.  It was the first time all
year the Giant’s D let up more than 30 points.   They are banged up, and the loss
of Linebacker Jon Beason hurts, but they are not 52 points bad.  The Giant’s D is
a middle-of-the-pack NFL Defense that gets better this week with JPP giving them
the ability to get to the quarterback without needing to rely on the blitz.

LH:Will Pierre-Paul, if he plays, make a difference for the Giants defense?

AC:Yes JPP plays and yes he makes a difference.  Remember, Tampa does not come into the game with a great offensive line, so protecting the QB has been an issue all
season.  Now bring to town one of the premier pass rushers in the game, and it creates big third-and-long headaches for Tampa.  I think JPP has 2 sacks today while playing around half of the Giant’s defensive snaps.

LH:The Buccaneers are going to run the football and take as much pressure off
Winston as possible. Can New York shut down Doug Martin and the Tampa Bay ground game?

AC:Doug Martin will get near 100 yards today against a Giant’s D that is giving up
around 112 yards per game on the ground.  Playing without linebacker Jon Beason
hurts against the run game, but I think the Giants find a way to get another defender in the box against Tampa and help limit Tampa’s damage on the ground.

LH:Generally, teams want to establish the run. The weakest part of the Bucs defense is the secondary. Do the Giants just abandon the run and attack the Tampa Bay strictly through the air?

AC:Right now the Giants don’t have one established “go-to” running back.  It is truly
running-back by committee.  The Giant’s running backs have only scored 2 rushing
touchdowns all season, so you’re right on with your hunch that the Giant’s are a
pass-first team today.

LH:I like the Bucs to win 27-24 today because the Giants don’t put pressure on the quarterback.  If Winston isn’t under pressure, he’s shown a propensity to find receivers and, more importantly, not turn it over.  Bucs do enough in the running game to allow Winston to throw it when he wants to and not when he has to.  Ok, my friend, your turn.  Who wins and why ?

AC:The Giants win and win comfortably by more than 10 points.  Despite last week’s
loss, the Giant’s are 4-4 and sitting atop the NFC East.  Eli is having a strong season and they are plus 11 in the turnover margin.  They keep Tampa under 24 points and win 32-20.