NFL Playoffs: How NY Giants fared against divisional teams
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Week 8
Result: Loss, 25-23
While the game plan for most of these teams was for the Giants’ defense to overpower their opponents’ rushing attacks, the plan against Tampa Bay was to put Tom Brady in the turf.
The Giants were only able to do that to some degree, but it was their offense which helped them stay close in this game. In fact, this was one game the Giants could look back on and say they should have won. And however far the Buccaneers go, the Giants should absolutely feel they’re capable of getting.
The Giants and the Bucs had the same number of drives, but the Giants had more yards (357 vs 344). The Giants also had more trips to the Red Zone (4 vs 3) and scored on three of those trips. But they did not play a clean game; they had two interceptions and seven penalties for 73 yards.
The Giants’ Red Zone numbers match identically to how the Washington Football Team performed during the Wildcard game. But Washington had one fewer interception, and five fewer penalties. Washington only brought Brady down twice.
While the Giants were also able to sack Brady twice, it wasn’t enough to throw him off his game. He still completed 28 passes for 279 yards for two touchdowns and a rating of 106.1. He hit eight different receivers at least twice.
It was the Giants offense that worked best. While Daniel Jones only had a rating of 74.8, he completed 25 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns. The Giants also rushed for 101 yards. Wayne Gallman rushed for 44 yards on 12 carries and a touchdowns, Alfred Morris added 28 yards, Jones had 20, and Evan Engram had nine.
Washington was only able to rush for 86 yards in their Wildcard game.
But what hurt the Giants was what usually hurts them, turnovers. They lost the turnover battle, and the penalty battle. And in this sense, their NFC East rivals played a better game than the Giants did.
But this should show just how close the Giants are. Turnovers aside, the Giants had an abnormally sloppy game. They were the third-lowest penalized team in the NFL in 2020. Seven penalties for 73 yards is far too much.
That could spell trouble for New Orleans. While the Saints were eighth overall in the NFL in sacks with 45, and managed to bring down Nickelodeon’s Valuable Player Mitch Trubisky once in the Wildcard game, they are the fourth highest penalized team in the league.