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Fact or Fiction: Predictions for Monday Night Football


Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are the toughest opposing duo in the NFL.

John Schmeelk: Fiction- As historically awesome the Brady-Gronk connection has been, they are no longer No. 1 in the NFL. The list is long. Drew Brees-Michael Thomas and Matt Ryan-Julio Jones are in the same division. Kyler Murray-DeAndre Hopkins is terrifying. Aaron Rodgers-Devante Adams is scary. Patrick Mahomes-Tyreek Hill is explosive. The Giants do have to worry about Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, but this could be the game when Mike Evans breaks out. Scotty Miller currently leads the Bucs in receiving yards and Brady has a lot of options. 

Lance Medow: Fiction- I'd put Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski in the conversation, considering their experience and the volume of seasons they played together. But when you combine stats, athleticism and productivity in 2020, Arizona's Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins top the list and the Giants will see them in Week 14. Despite the fact that Hopkins joined the Cardinals this year, he leads the NFL in receptions (57) and receiving yards (704). It clearly hasn't taken much time for Murray and Hopkins to get on the same page and - when you throw in Murray's ability as a runner to extend plays, his arm strength and Hopkins' knack for catching just about anything - I don't see how you put any duo ahead of them. Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams of the Packers and the Saints' Drew Brees and Michael Thomas warrant consideration, but Adams and Thomas have dealt with injuries this season.

From Joe Judge to Logan Ryan, the Giants' familiarity with Tom Brady will be an advantage.

John Schmeelk: Fiction- If this was Tom Brady still playing with the New England Patriots, I might choose to think so, but he is not with them. There is no magical knowledge about how Brady plays quarterback that can be implemented into the game plan to help stop him. Brady has seen everything. He is probably the best quarterback of all-time. You have to have good defensive players, play sharp fundamental football and be assignment sound to slow him down. There's no secret sauce, which is what makes Brady so difficult to stop.

Lance Medow: Fiction- Tom Brady is in his 21st season in the NFL. Over the course of the last two-plus decades, he's pretty much seen just about anything you can imagine and has crossed paths with tons of coaches and players currently spread across the league. Despite that, he's still managed to have a great deal of annual success and now Brady is in a completely different system with a wealth of weapons. You can also bet that Brady has some familiarity with the Giants' scheme because Patrick Graham and Joe Judge worked under Bill Belichick, so I wouldn't say New York has a distinct advantage in that department.

This is the most offensive talent Tom Brady has had around him in his career.

John Schmeelk: Fact- If all of Tampa Bay's skill position players are healthy, this is a true. If Chris Godwin or Mike Evans were to be injured for a long period of time, I would give the nod to the 2007 Patriots (featuring Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Donte Stallworth, Ben Watson, and Kevin Faulk). Antonio Brown is the other factor. If he on track and plays like his old self, then Brown, Evans, Godwin, Gronkowski, Miller and running back Ronald Jones are not only the best set of skill position players Brady has had, they are probably the best set of skill position players in the NFL.

Lance Medow: Fact- During his two decades in New England, Brady was surrounded by a number of solid players including Randy Moss, Deion Branch, Wes Welker, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski, just to name a few, but he didn't have all those players together simultaneously. Right now, he's working with a ridiculous amount of depth at wide receiver in Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Scotty Miller, Justin Watson and Tyler Johnson. He also has Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate at tight end and Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones in the backfield. It's a group which has combined for nine Pro Bowl appearances and, by the way, Antonio Brown just joined the party. This is by far the most offensive talent he's had around him in his career and it's not close.

Logan Ryan is the Giants' X-factor on Monday Night Football.

John Schmeelk: Fact- There's a good chance Ryan draws a few 1-on-1 matchups with Rob Gronkowski, but I am more focused on how he keeps the secondary organized to avoid big plays down the field. The Bucs push the ball down the field in the passing game more than any team in the league. The Giants' secondary cannot have any lapses or mistakes because Tom Brady and the Bucs receivers will take advantage of it. Those mistakes will lead to touchdowns. If the Giants want to win the game on Monday night, they have to prevent big plays from the Bucs' offense.

Lance Medow: Fiction- Logan Ryan can't cover the entire field so - even if he handles his assignments - it still falls on the rest of the secondary to take care of business, given all the weapons the Bucs showcase and Tom Brady's tendency to spread the wealth and get rid of the football quickly. That's why this game is more about the Giants' offense and whether that unit will be able to put points on the board and handle Tampa Bay's pass rush, which has accumulated 25 sacks (second-most in the NFL). New York's offensive line will be the X-factor on Monday – this group's performance will determine whether or not the Giants' offense can match the Bucs' firepower.


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