Everything you need to know about the Week 3 matchup between the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium:
1. Jones to make first NFL start. Daniel Jones was the second of 11 quarterbacks drafted in April, and he will become the third to start. Top pick Kyler Murray has been the Cardinals’ starting quarterback from day one, and Gardner Minshew II, a sixth-round selection, started the last two weeks for the Jaguars in place of the injured Nick Foles. Jones made his NFL debut on the final drive of the Giants’ 35-17 loss to Dallas in the season opener, but Sunday in Tampa will be his first start since the 2018 Independence Bowl. Jones had a 137.3 passer rating, averaged 12.2 yards per pass attempt, and completed 85.3 percent of his passes in the preseason, all first among quarterbacks who threw more than six passes.
2. Eli accepts new role. Eli Manning had started 232 of the Giants’ last 233 regular-season games, a span that began in Week 11 of the 2004 season when, as the first overall draft choice that year, he replaced future Hall of Famer Kurt Warner. On the NFL’s all-time lists, Manning is currently sixth in completions (4,860), seventh in yards (56,537) and eighth in touchdown passes (362). “I’ll get into futures later on,” Manning said. “Right now, my future is I’m the second-string quarterback of the Giants and I’ve got to get myself ready to play and do whatever I’m called upon and feel I need to do to help out the rest of my teammates.”
3. How much will the offense change? That was the question trailing in the wake of the quarterback news, considering Jones’ well-known mobility (17 rushing touchdowns at Duke) and Manning’s lack of it (Super Bowl XLII aside). There will be natural changes, but don’t expect a complete overhaul.
“I mean I think that’s a possibility with Jones because he can move pretty well,” running back Saquon Barkley said. “But at the end of the day, I think the defense is really going to play us, kind of, the same way. I think the (Buccaneers) head coach (Bruce Arians) over there made it kind of known what the game plan is for them, and that’s to stop the run.”
As for the run-pass option, Barkley said: “I mean we ran it with Eli. To be completely honest, RPO, it doesn’t necessarily mean for the quarterback to pull it and run. You’re reading the defender, so he can give it to you or he can still throw the ball. Multiple teams do RPO throughout the season, and throughout the NFL, that’s kind of what the NFL is going to. I don’t think it’s really going to be too much of a change, but yes, everybody knows he’s a mobile quarterback and he’s going to be able to extend plays, and he’s going to be able to run if need be. Hopefully we don’t have to put ourselves in that position, but if we have to do that, then hopefully he’ll go out there and make some plays– which I believe he will.”
4. Shepard, Slayton on track. The Giants’ wide receiver corps looks to get a boost from the returns of Sterling Shepard (concussion) and rookie Darius Slayton (hamstring). Both were full-go by Friday’s practice and are on track to play Sunday. Shepard missed last week’s game while Slayton, a fifth-round draft choice, has yet to make his NFL debut.
5. Injury report. NYG – Out: WR Cody Latimer (concussion). Questionable: WR Bennie Fowler (hamstring). TB – Out: LB Devante Bond (hamstring), CB Jamel Dean (ankle), QB Blaine Gabbert (left shoulder), LB Devin White (knee).
Keep an eye on these five players when the Giants travel to face the Bucs in Week 3.
6. Strength vs. strength. Under new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, the Buccaneers have allowed just 2.69 yards per rush, the third-best mark in the league. The Giants are averaging 7.57 yards per rush, the best in the NFL by nearly two yards (Houston is second at 5.77). Tampa Bay will be rested after improving to 1-1 with a Thursday night victory over Carolina.
7. Shoring up the D. Through two weeks, the Giants are allowing 441 yards and 31.5 points per game. They have yet to force a turnover and recorded their first three sacks of the season in Week 2. On offense, the Buccaneers average 292.0 yards and 18.5 points per game.
8. The good with the bad. On one hand, Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston has thrown 61 interceptions since the Buccaneers drafted the Heisman Trophy winner first overall in 2015, the most in the NFL in that time span. On the other, Winston is capable of getting hot at any moment, like he did last year against the Giants. Winston, who relieved starter Ryan Fitzpatrick in the Week 11 outing, led four straight touchdowns drives as Tampa Bay nearly rallied for a win. Winston has a 101.1 passer rating with five interceptions to one interception in three games against the Giants.
9. Series history. Sunday will be the third year in a row and the fourth time in five seasons that the Giants and Bucs meet. The last two games between the teams were decided by a total of five points. On Oct. 1, 2017, the Giants’ last trip to Raymond James Stadium, Nick Folk kicked a 34-yard field goal as time expired to give the Bucs a 25-23 victory. That broke the Giants’ five-game winning streak in the series, including a 2007 wild card victory.
10. Get a little juice. It has been a major week in franchise history with the changing of the guard, but there is still a lot of football left to play in 2019. The Giants, with a new quarterback, look for their first win of the season on the road before back-to-back home games. “You get a little juice, you win a football game,” Shurmur said, “who knows what’s going to happen.”
View the best photos from the all-time series between the Giants and Buccaneers.