The Giants (0-3) at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1), at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, on Sunday, Oct. 1, at 4:05 p.m. ET.
It will be warm, muggy and maybe a little rainy. The temperatures are expected to be in the high 80s and there's a 60 percent chance of evening thunderstorms, which could make for a messy second half of the game.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Giants are already in deep trouble and the odds are decidedly against them. Only three teams have reached the NFL playoffs after an 0-3 start since the playoffs expanded in 1990. Right now, before they think about anything else, they need to stop the bleeding. Their last 0-3 start came in 2013, and they ran that all the way to 0-6 before they started to play to their capabilities, going 7-3 over their final 10 games. Maybe this season is already over, who knows? But they desperately need a win to make sure things don't get worse, either in the standings or in the locker room. Then they can reassess everything from there.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. He's a must-watch most weeks, but after his bizarre, dog-peeing touchdown dance landed him in hot water -- with Giants co-owner John Mara, more than a few fans and plenty of members of the media -- he's in the spotlight again. Obviously, everyone wants to see what he'll do if he scores a touchdown since he vowed he'd do whatever he want, no matter the cost. But more importantly to the Giants, he flashed some of his old, spectacular, almost-dominant form in Philadelphia for the first time since he injured his ankle. Was that a sign that Beckham is about to break out? The Giants' struggling offense sure could use him. And it sounds like they will use him. In quotes released through the team on Friday, Ben McAdoo said, "If Odell is one on one, throw it to him. We have that much confidence in him." Could this be the week they break out the ol' Beckham-or-bust attack?
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Giants G Josh Jerry vs. Bucs DT Gerald McCoy. It's been easy to focus on LT Ereck Flowers as the source of all the Giants' offensive line issues, but it's not like the interior of the line has been good either. And in McCoy, a five-time Pro Bowler who had 33 1/2 sacks over the previous four seasons, they get their biggest test. Most likely, he'll choose to line up over Jerry instead of LG Justin Pugh. And given the Giants' issues at tackle, the last thing they need is pressure coming at Eli Manning up the middle. They also could use a surge in the middle for their rushing attack, which has been a disaster. Yes, the Giants are likely to employ the hurry-up offense they used somewhat successfully in Philadelphia last week, and sure that will minimize the damage any pass rush can do, but it won't eliminate it. McCoy can destroy the Giants rushing attack and even if Manning makes his throws in under two seconds, that's still enough time for McCoy to collapse the pocket or get his hands up right in front of Manning's face.
Full disclosure: I had the Giants going 10-6 this season, so it's a little hard for me to envision an 0-4 start. That said, it's hard to feel comfortable about them going into this game, against a good team, on the road and already feeling desperate and a little down. The only comfort comes in the fact that the Giants' offense showed signs of life in Philadelphia. Forget the 24-point fourth-quarter explosion; they also moved the ball much better with their hurry-up attack. They made a bunch of mistakes along the way that kept them scoreless for three quarters, but they seemed to be on the verge of an offensive breakthrough.
I think that will come on Sunday against a Tampa pass defense that has struggled the first two weeks. Yes, the Bucs are strong against the run, but the Giants don't even seem to want to run anymore anyway. Even playing one-dimensional football, this will be the Giants' best chance all season so far to really score. … Giants 27, Bucs 20.
MY RECORD: 2-1
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING THE GIANTS TO WIN: 0-1
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING THE GIANTS TO LOSE: 2-0