1. WINNING WAYS VS. TAMPA BAY
With a slim lead in the NFC East, the New York Giants (4-4) start the second half of their schedule with a road game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4). Under coach Tom Coughlin, Big Blue is undefeated in four meetings with Tampa Bay, including a 2007 NFC Wild Card Game.
The Giants have outscored the Buccaneers, 106-51, over the course of the winning streak.
2. D LOOKS TO BOUNCE BACK
The Giants' defense went back to the drawing board this week after playing in the third-highest scoring game in NFL history last Sunday.
Losing 52-49 to the Saints, the Giants allowed 608 yards and 35 first downs while Drew Brees became the eighth player ever to record seven passing touchdowns in a single game. The result was the Giants falling to last in in the NFL in yards allowed per game (427.5) and 24th in points (26.0).
3. GIANTS INJURY REPORT
Out: CB Prince Amukamara (pectoral), LB Jon Beason (ankle/knee), WR Victor Cruz (calf), TE Larry Donnell (neck), and LB J.T. Thomas III (ankle)
Questionable: WR Rueben Randle (hamstring), CB Leon McFadden (groin), LB Uani 'Unga (neck)
Probable: OL Geoff Schwartz (ankle), RB Orleans Darkwa (back), S Craig Dahl (neck)
4. BUCS INJURY REPORT
Out: WR Vincent Jackson (knee), DE Jacquies Smith (ankle), S Major Wright (hamstring)
Questionable: DE William Gholston (knee), DT Tony McDaniel (groin), TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (shoulder), S D.J. Swearinger (toe)
Probable: G Logan Mankins (not injury related), DT Gerald McCoy (shoulder)
5. DECISION ON JPP
In his second week back, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul ramped up his workload in practice and drew positive reviews from his coaches and teammates. The two-time Pro Bowler cleared his last hurdle during a team workout on Saturday and is eligible to play for the first time since suffering serious hand injuries in a July 4 fireworks accident.
"He's done everything we've asked him to do, and we're very positive about it," Coughlin said.
Playmakers on the Buccaneers first-team offense, defense, and special teams, presented by Nike
6. EASY ELI VS. FAMOUS JAMEIS
Two former No. 1 overall draft picks will go head-to-head on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. Eli Manning, the top selection in 2004 out of Ole Miss, goes up against Jameis Winston, the No. 1 pick this past April. In seven starts, the Florida State product and former Heisman Trophy winner has completed 58.6 percent of his passes for 1,648 yards, 10 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He also has 24 carries for 91 yards and two more scores. Winston has not turned the ball over since a four-interception performance in Week 4, throwing four touchdowns with a 65.3 completion percentage in that span as his team won two of its last three games. Meanwhile, Manning is on pace for 4,252 yards, 34 touchdowns, and eight interceptions this season. He also threw for a career-high 510 yards in his last meeting with Tampa Bay in 2012.
7. OBJ VS. EVANS
If Odell Beckham Jr. didn't come along, Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans may have been named the 2014 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.
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The seventh overall pick out of Texas A&M, Evans caught 68 passes for 1,051 yards and 12 touchdowns as a rookie. Despite missing Week 1 of his sophomore season, he is leading the team again with 24 receptions for 386 yards and a touchdown in six games. Meanwhile, Beckham, an LSU product drafted five spots after Evans, is coming off his biggest game of the year with eight catches for 130 yards and three touchdowns against New Orleans. Beckham has 50 receptions for 654 yards and seven touchdowns at the midway point in the season.
Keep an eye on these five players as the Giants face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday
8. DON'T FORGET DOUG
Tampa Bay enters Week 9 with the No. 4 rushing offense thanks to running back Doug Martin, who has 612 yards (4.6 yards per carry) and three touchdowns this season.
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The 2012 first-round draft pick is also tied for second in the league with seven carries of 20 yards or more. In his 2012 game against the Giants, Martin carried the ball 20 times for 66 yards and a touchdown.
9. FINDING A PASS RUSH
The Giants are last in the league with just nine sacks through eight games, but they have half of a season left to make up those numbers like they did down the stretch last year. They will be going up against a Tampa Bay offensive line that has two rookie second-rounders in left tackle Donovan Smith and right guard Ali Marpet.
10. SEE BALL, GET BALL
A difference-maker for the Giants this season has been their plus-11 turnover differential, which is the best mark in the NFL. While the Giants have given the ball away only seven times this year, they have 18 takeaways, including 13 interceptions (tied with Arizona for first in the NFL). Meanwhile, Tampa Bay is tied for 13th with a plus-two turnover differential.