Sunday at MetLife Stadium, the New York Giants (0-1) commence Week 2 of the NFL season when they play host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0). Kickoff is at 1 p.m. with the game televised on the FOX networks. Flagship station WFAN AM-660 in New York will carry the radio broadcast.
[Related: Fantasy Football Start/Sit Week 2]
TEN DAYS AGO
The Giants began the defense of their Super Bowl championship by laying an egg in a 24-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. The theme entering the game was "build the bridge," except by the final whistle it was a bridge to nowhere. Tony Romo shredded the Giants secondary for 307 passing yards and three touchdowns while New York's running game picked up where it left off last season. Ranked dead last a year ago, the Giants were outrushed 143-82.
The Giants have taken the last three games, including a wild card victory at Raymond James Stadium in January 2008 that launched their Super Bowl run. The teams last met on September 27, 2009, a 24-0 Giants victory in Tampa.
STATE OF THE G-MEN
The Giants may only be 0-1, but the pressure is already on to not fall into an early hole. The rest of Big Blue's NFC East competition enters Week 2 1-0 and every opponent expects to bring their ‘A' game against the defending Super Bowl champions.
"You can't lose a game," said Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said. "Everybody's 1-0 and we're 0-1. We have another big game this weekend. That's the great thing about our profession. We get to line up and play again."
The young Buccaneers are led into MetLife Stadium by first-year head coach Greg Schiano, who returns to New Jersey as the former coach of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Schiano's crew held the Carolina Panthers' ground game to 10 yards in a 16-10 victory at the Ray Jay. Promising quarterback Josh Freeman leads a Bucs offense that ran the ball effectively in Week 1. Schiano took a chance on starting rookie Doug Martin, picked one spot ahead of Giants RB David Wilson, and was rewarded with 95 rushing yards.
"He does a great job of preaching this is a one-game season," veteran cornerback Ronde Barber said of Schiano. "We'll play them one at a time and search for wins the best way that we can."
Visit Bucs Nation for more coverage of the pewter and white.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Coughlin professed that Wilson is coming out of the doghouse. As long as the rookie can hold on to the ball, he stands a good chance of giving the Giants beleaguered ground game a boost. The line must also protect Eli Manning from a Buccaneers defense that last week sacked Cam Newton three times.
Defensively, a pass rush that vanished against Romo and the Cowboys must reassert itself against Freeman, another mobile quarterback. Justin Tuck said it was "alarming" that he, Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora failed to sack Romo in the Week 1 loss.
Expect what's normally a ferocious front defensive line to come out motivated from the opening kickoff. They will have to rattle Freeman to help a secondary missing Terrell Thomas (knee), and possibly Prince Amukamara (high ankle sprain) and Michael Coe (hamstring). Corey Webster, the veteran of the group, is healthy, but played poorly against the Cowboys.
"I haven't slept well, so I think we all are itching to get back on the field. Definitely got a lot of work to do on the practice field." - Justin Tuck
Visit Big Blue View for complete Giants coverage.
Follow Jon Lane on Twitter: @JonLaneNYC