The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4) will seek a second consecutive home win on Sunday when they welcome the New York Giants (4-4) to Raymond James Stadium. Here are a few individual matchups that could play a key role in determining the outcome of the first Bucs-Giants matchup in three years:
DT Henry Melton vs. G Justin Pugh
With DT Clinton McDonald on IR, Melton will play a big role in the defensive front, helping Gerald McCoy plug the middle and get after the quarterback. He could work one-on-one against Pugh, who is the third-highest ranked LG in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus and has been credited with just one sack and one QB hit.
LB Lavonte David vs. RB Rashad Jennings
Jennings has run for 60+ yards in a game just once this season but leads the team in rushing yards. He can also make a difference catching the ball (16 rec., 163 yards). It will be up to David to clean up both the running game and any short RB passing plays. David's 58 tackles lead the team and are tied for 15th-most in the league.
Buccaneers TEs vs. S Landon Collins
The Giants are allowing 7.25 receptions per game and 85.5 yards per game to opposing tight ends so far this season, which could translate to another big game for Bucs TEs crossing the middle of the field. Collins, who leads the Giants in tackles with 51, will look to limit their production.
WR Mike Evans vs. CB Rodgers-Cromartie
The Giants defense allows the most passing yards per game (315.4) but leads the league in INTs (13). Rodgers-Cromartie has three picks, all in the last two games. Last week, the Giants allowed 505 passing yards and seven passing TDs, which could bode well for the Bucs' receiving leader, Evans.
CB Johnthan Banks vs. WR Odell Beckham, Jr.
Beckham is eighth in the NFL in receiving yards (654) and T-first in receiving TDs (7). While the Bucs defense is allowing just 244.6 passing yards per game, they have allowed
17 receiving TDs. Banks will likely be a key component to limiting the big-play receiver.
WR Russell Shepard vs. KR Dwayne Harris
Harris's 34.1 yards per kick return leads the league (minimum four returns). K Connor Barth has had 14 of his 21 kickoffs go for touchbacks, which will limit Harris's production. If he does get a chance to return one, special teams captain Russell Shepard (three ST tackles in four games) will play a key role in bringing the speedy return man down.