BUCS – GOAL LINE STAND : GIANTS
By Leo Haggerty

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the New York Giants Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.  Kickoff is scheduled for 4:05 and, as I always have to add during September, weather permitting.

The Bucs are coming off a big Thursday night 20-14 road win over Carolina.  That evened the Pewter Pirates record at 1-1.

The G-Men are still searching for their first win of the 2019 regular season.  NY lost at home to Buffalo 28-14 and that prompted some lineup changes that I will address below.

So, let’s get right to it.  Below are my four keys to victory so Tampa Bay can go 2-1 before embarking on their National Football League imposed hiatus.  The Buccaneers will not return to Raymond James until November 10th when the Pewter Pirates will take on the Arizona Cardinals.  Thanks for nothing, NFL.

That’s an entirely separate issue which I will definitely expound upon in the near future. Let’s deal with the subject at hand and that’s how to emerge victorious against the Giants.

What do you think of my assertions?  Whether you agree or disagree, enjoy the discussion.

1ST DOWN – GET AFTER THE ROOKIE

After losing the first two games of the 2019 season, QB Eli Manning is out for the G-Men.  He’s being replaced by former Duke signal caller Daniel Jones who was the #6 pick in the 2019 draft.

If I had to hazard a guess, I would say #10 isn’t real hurt about getting benched.  When you consider the ability of the five guys protecting the two-time Super Bowl winning QB, it would be in his long-term health interests to take a seat.

With this being the first NFL start for Jones, look for Bucs DC Todd Bowles to throw everything at the Giants rookie along with the kitchen sink.  I expect the Pewter Pirates defense to give #8 a myriad of pre-snap looks and then something totally different when the pigskin is put into play.  It’s what you do to a rookie in the NFL.

Tampa Bay defenders must make life miserable for Jones.  The Bucs defense cannot allow him to get comfortable and throw the football where he wants to and when he wants to.  Sound a touch familiar, right?

Harass the QB in the white jersey on every snap.  Come from every conceivable angle and with a multitude of different players.  Make his opening NFL start a nightmare and not a night to remember.

2ND DOWN – GET THE CROWD IN THE GAME

Anyone who thinks that home field in the National Football League is not an advantage is living under a rock.  That’s the main reason why the Super Bowl is not held at the home stadium of the team with the best record.  That is just too much of an advantage for the visiting team to overcome in the most important game in the NFL year.

With all that being said, the Buccaneers have got to give the home fans at Raymond James Stadium a reason to get involved.  The Pewter Pirates need to make plays early so that the throngs at RJS are in extremely loud vocal appreciation.

The RayJay needs to become a House of Horrors for visiting teams especially if they have a rookie quarterback making his first National Football League start.  The decibel level needs to be approaching triple digits when Jones is trying to change the play.

The crowd needs to be the 12th man and the only way that’s going to happen is if the Bucs makes them the 12th man.  A TD.  A turnover.  A sack. A big play.  Any or all of them will do the job.

3RD DOWN – BE BALANCED ON OFFENSE

In my opinion, the magic number for the Buccaneers is 24 if they want to walk a way with a win on any given Sunday.  So, you ask, 24 of what and that an astute observation on your part.

I believe for the Pewter Pirates to win any football game, their QB must not exceed 24 pass attempts.  That’s a target number and not set in concrete.  For example, Winston threw it 25 times in the win last Thursday night against Carolina.  There are exceptions to every rule especially in professional football.

What that 24 pass attempts will determine is if the Buccaneers are winning or losing.  With the lead, the Bucs can take the overland route and watch the clock run.  If the Pewter Pirates are behind, the pigskin will get airborne and the clock will stop more often.

Tampa Bay needs to be balanced.  The Bucs need to run the football for two reasons.  The first is to keep the New York defense off-balance.  The second is that will allow the Buccaneers to control the clock.  That’s the recipe for victory in my humble opinion.

4TH DOWN – FEED THE HOT HAND

This one is simple.  Whoever is having a really good game on offense, needs to get the football.

Whichever running back is having the better game, feed him the rock.  Whichever receiver is catching everything in the same area code, throw him the football especially if #3 is having a good day.

The weak spot, so far this season, for New York has been their defense.  Take advantage of what the Giants give you whether it’s the run or the pass and hammer it.

So, it’s prediction time.  So far this year, I been wrong on both games.

I have the Bucs winning big.  Pick off two passes.  The running duo of Barber & Jones go over 100 yards combined.  Brate and Howard both have TD catches and Winston throws for 4 scores and no picks.  Also, add a couple of Gay field goals.

That translates to TB, 34-13, in a game that the Buccaneers dominate from start to finish.

Am I right?  Join me at Raymond James or around the TV at 4ish to find out.