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Giants vs. Buccaneers Storylines: What to watch for


Here are the storylines to follow as the Giants prepare for Week 4:


Coach Ben McAdoo used the term "irritated" to describe the mood of the Giants after the heartbreaking loss in Philadelphia, their third in a row to start a season that began with high expectations. Meanwhile, their three NFC East rivals all improved to 2-1 as Big Blue fell to 0-3 overall and 0-2 in the division. Now the Giants head to Tampa Bay, where they will take on a 1-1 Buccaneers team which they've beaten in the last five outings, including postseason.

"We need to keep fighting through," said McAdoo, whose team was 2-1 at this point last season in his first run as head coach. "I believe in this team. I believe in the potential of this team. It starts with me and we need to keep fighting to get better and we need to keep fighting to get the win. Got to get that first one."


After three scoreless quarters last week, the Giants were on their way to a ninth consecutive game without reaching 20 points. Then the fourth quarter happened. Eli Manning threw three touchdown passes, two to Odell Beckham Jr. and another to Sterling Shepard, who broke loose for a 77-yard score. Aldrick Rosas also added a field goal in a wild 24-point fourth quarter, the Giants' highest-scoring fourth quarter since a 2012 game against none other than Tampa Bay.

But it ended up to be too little, too late. So how do they get it going earlier in games?

"I think we just have to find completions. I thought last week, [we] moved the ball well," Manning said.
"The first couple drives, just had a couple third downs that were just not good enough on third down right now and both of them are very manageable. One is a third-and-one and we tried to run it. Next one, just a little off between Odell and I. So, just cleaning up those things. Both of them were plays that were not executed exactly the way we wanted them to be executed. So that's on ourselves and we can't afford to have ourselves make it any harder than it already is."


Right tackle Bobby Hart (ankle) and linebackers B.J. Goodson (shin) and J.T. Thomas (groin) were unable to suit up in Week 3 because of injuries. As a result, Justin Pugh again moved to right tackle, and Brett Jones played left guard. Undrafted rookie Clavin Munson started for Goodson at middle linebacker. The Giants will likely have two more names to add to the injury report this week: defensive end Olivier Vernon and running back Orleans Darkwa. Vernon left the Eagles game with an ankle injury, and Darkwa is dealing with a back issue.


Manning, who was the first pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, faces five fellow quarterbacks taken No. 1 overall this season: Jameis Winston (2015), Jared Goff (2016), Alex Smith (2005), Cason Palmer (2003), and Matthew Stafford (2009).

This week, it's Winston, the former Heisman Trophy winner and national champion who is 16-18 as a starter in the NFL. One of those losses came to the Giants in his rookie season. Winston went 19 of 36 for 247 yards and had a rushing touchdown in a 32-18 loss to the Giants at Raymond James Stadium.


Other than the losses, perhaps the most surprising – and disappointing -- part of the first three weeks is that the Giants are allowing a league-high 153.3 rushing yards per game. This comes a year after the Giants were tied with New England for the No. 3 rushing defense, giving up just 88.6 yards per game. They allowed 120-plus rushing yards just once all of last season. So far, they have done so three times in three games. Dallas churned out 129 in the opener, Detroit had 138, and Philadelphia racked up 193.

"We know that, we definitely know that," defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul said. "We gave up almost 200 yards in rushing [to the Eagles]. That's something that we are not proud of. I am definitely not proud of. We are going to fix it. We are going to get it better. So like I said, it ain't no panic. We are not panicking. The fans can't play for us. The media can't play for us. The only person that can play for us is us."

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