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Giants face Tom Brady, Big Ben in primetime


The 2020 NFL schedule is out and the Giants will be playing three games under the lights in the national spotlight.

Here is a breakdown of the Giants' three 2020 primetime games.

Week 1: Pittsburgh Steelers -- Monday Night Football at MetLife Stadium (9/14)

The Giants hit primetime right away as the season kicks off at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first game of Monday Night Football's Week 1 doubleheader. Dating back to 1933, the first contest between the two storied franchises, the Giants lead the all-time series, 44-30-3.

For the first time since 2000, a matchup between the Giants and Steelers will not feature a battle of quarterbacks taken in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft. Following Eli Manning's retirement, second-year quarterback Daniel Jones will lead the Giants against Pittsburgh's 17-year veteran Ben Roethlisberger.

Roethlisberger injured his elbow in Week 2 of the 2019 season and missed the remainder of the year. In four career contests against the Giants, the 38-year-old has completed 61.8% of his passes for 1,010 yards with six touchdowns and eight interceptions.

This Week 1 matchup will be the first time that many of the young Giants players play the Steelers. Jones, Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram and Darius Slayton, just to name a few, have never faced off against Pittsburgh. However, several Giants have had success in limited action against the black and gold. Sterling Shepard caught four passes and a touchdown against the Steelers during his rookie campaign, while Blake Martinez racked up 15 tackles (11 solo), one tackle for loss, an interception, a pass defended and a fumble recovery in his only game against Pittsburgh. In four games against the Steelers during his two-year stint in Cleveland, Jabrill Peppers registered 18 tackles (14 solo), one tackle for loss, an interception, two passes defended and two fumble recoveries.

Pittsburgh has added several players this offseason, including TE Eric Ebron, DL Chris Wormley, FB Derek Watt and G Stefen Wisniewski. They lost some veterans in free agency as well, as DT Javon Hargrave (Eagles), CB Artie Burns (Bears), TE Nick Vannett (Broncos) and OL B.J. Finley (Seahawks) signed with new teams. They traded their 2020 first round pick to Miami last year (as well as their 2021 first round pick) for S Minkah Fitzpatrick, so Pittsburgh's first pick of this year's draft was second round WR Chase Claypool (49th overall) out of Notre Dame. They also added EDGE Alex Highsmith (Charlotte), RB Anthony McFarland (Maryland) and G Kevin Dotson (Louisiana-Lafayette) in rounds three and four.

View photos of the additions made by the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason.

Week 7: Philadelphia Eagles – Thursday Night Football at Lincoln Financial Field (10/22)

The Giants' second primetime game will be their third NFC East matchup of the season, as they head to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles on Thursday Night Football in Week 7. The first-ever meeting between the division rivals came in 1933, a Giants' 56-0 win, the largest victory ever between the two teams. Overall, the Eagles have a small lead in the all-time series, 88-86-2, while the postseason record is tied at 2-2.

Jones missed the first encounter with the Eagles last season with a sprained ankle but started the season finale at MetLife Stadium. He threw for 301 yards and a touchdown and picked up 26 yards on the ground. Eagles QB Carson Wentz threw for 289 yards and a touchdown in the Week 17 matchup and Philadelphia went home with the win.

In four career games against the Eagles, Barkley has been successful on the ground and in the air. In his first game versus Philadelphia in 2018, he picked up 130 yards and a touchdown on just 13 carries (10.0 yards per carry) and added nine receptions for 99 yards. Barkley followed that up with 13 carries for 101 yards and a touchdown, along with seven receptions for 41 yards and another score, in the second meeting. While the sledding was tougher last year, Barkley still finished with 158 yards on 34 carries (4.6 avg) and a touchdown in the two games against Philadelphia. His four total touchdowns versus the Eagles are the most he's scored against any team in his two-year NFL career.

In eight games against Philadelphia, Shepard has 44 receptions for 524 yards and four touchdowns, the most he has had against any opponent in his first four NFL seasons. Slayton caught nine passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns against the Eagles last year, including five receptions for 154 yards and two touchdowns on Monday Night Football. On the other side of the ball, Oshane Ximines picked up his first multi-sack game when he took down Wentz twice in Week 14 in primetime. Dalvin Tomlinson has shined against Philly in six career games, racking up 18 total tackles (11 solo) and two QB hits, both career-highs against a single opponent, registering the only forced fumble of his career.

The Eagles made a few splashes this offseason, acquiring CB Darius Slay in a trade with the Lions and signing Hargrave from the Steelers and CB Nickell Robey-Coleman from the Rams. However, their defense lost a few key pieces, as S Malcolm Jenkins (Saints), CB Ronald Darby (Redskins) and DT Timmy Jernigan (Texans) signed elsewhere. LB Nigel Bradham and DE Vinny Curry remain free agents. Additionally, OT Jason Peters is still available in free agency, and RB Jordan Howard signed with Miami.

Philadelphia's first pick in the draft at No. 21 overall was WR Jalen Reagor (TCU), and the Eagles surprised some by selecting Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts in the second round (No. 53). They also landed LB Davion Taylor (Colorado), S K'Von Wallace (Clemson) and OT Jack Driscoll (Auburn) in Rounds 3 and 4.

View photos of the additions made by the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason.

Week 8: Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Monday Night Football at Met Life Stadium (11/2)

Another Monday night showdown, this time against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The two teams have played each other 23 times since their first meeting in 1977. The Giants lead the all-time series, 16-7. They have faced off in each of the last two seasons with the Giants emerging victorious in both contests. However, this year's Buccaneers look a lot different than the last two years.

Tampa Bay made the biggest splash of the 2020 offseason when it signed quarterback Tom Brady, who spent 20 years with the New England Patriots and earned a 219-64 record, six Super Bowl Championships, and three league MVP awards. For the first time in his NFL career, Brady will don a new uniform as he agreed to a two-year deal with the Buccaneers in March.

Over the last two years, the Giants have scored a total of 70 points against Tampa Bay. Barkley had rushed the ball 27 times for 142 yards (5.3 avg) and two touchdowns, and added a third score in the air. Shepard (seven catches for 100 yards and a touchdown), Engram (six receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown) and Slayton (82 yards on three catches) shined against Tampa Bay's defense last year.

Jones made the first start of his career against Tampa Bay last season and gave a historic performance. He completed 63.9% of his passes for 336 yards, two touchdowns while adding 28 yards rushing and two more touchdowns. Jones led the Giants from an 18-point halftime deficit, marking the second-largest comeback victory by a rookie quarterback making his first start in NFL history. He also became the first rookie quarterback since 1970 to have at least 300 passing yards, two passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in a single game.

Brady isn't the only former Patriot to migrate south this offseason. Three-time Super Bowl champion TE Rob Gronkowski came out of retirement to join Brady in Tampa. The Bucs also added offensive tackle Joe Haeg from the Colts, while they lost QB Jameis Winston (Saints), RB Peyton Barber (Redskins), WR Breshad Perriman (Jets) and DE Carl Nassib. OT Demar Dotson remains a free agent.

Tampa Bay landed one of the top offensive tackles in the draft with the No. 13 pick as they selected Tristan Wirfs out of Iowa. The Bucs then added a defensive playmaker in the second round, Minnesota safety Antoine Winfield Jr., with the No. 45 pick. They also added more skill position players for the offense with their next two picks, drafting Vanderbilt running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn in the third round (No. 76) and Minnesota wide receiver Tyler Johnson in the fifth round (No. 161). The two rookies, Gronkowski and the pieces the Bucs retained from last year (wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin and tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate) could give Brady one of the most talented groups of offensive playmakers in the NFL.

View photos of the additions made by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason.


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