Next-level preview: Giants vs. Buccaneers

September, 13, 2012
9/13/12
9:16
PM ET
The Giants eye getting into the win column for the first time this season when they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. New York is coming off a disappointing 24-17 loss to the Cowboys on opening night and will have had 10 days of practice since that game to correct their mistakes. While the Giants struggled, the Bucs had an impressive showing against the Panthers in their opening game, using a strong rush defense to hold off their NFC South foe, 16-10. Here are three areas to watch for Sunday afternoon:

• The Giants had issues stopping the run against the Cowboys, allowing 143 yards and 5.5 yards per carry. New York’s defense was especially porous on yards after contact. The Giants allowed Dallas to gain 67 rushing yards after the initial point of contact, the fourth-most New York has allowed in a home game since the start of the 2008 season. 49 of the 67 yards after contact came on DeMarco Murray’s 48-yard run in the third quarter. New York will need to improve on its Week 1 performance on Sunday against the Buccaneers, especially against Tampa Bay rookie Doug Martin. In his first career NFL game, Martin had 24 carries for 95 yards, with 55 of those yards coming after contact.

• Offensively, the Giants will be facing a tough Tampa Bay rush defense, which allowed just 10 yards on the ground to the Panthers in Week 1, tied for their fewest in franchise history. The Bucs also allowed just five yards outside the tackles against Carolina, their fewest since the start of the 2011 season. Last season, Tampa Bay allowed 969 yards outside the tackles, the most in the NFL and 166 more than the next closest team. Rushing outside the tackles was not a strong point for the Giants in Week 1 however. They averaged just 1.5 yards per rush outside the tackles and David Wilson had a costly fumble on one of those six rushes.

• Throwing the ball downfield is one area where Eli Manning and his receivers may be able to take advantage of the Bucs on Sunday. In Week 1 Tampa Bay allowed 152 yards passing on throws of 15 or more yards, the sixth-most in the league. While Manning was just 2-for-6 with 65 yards passing on such throws in Week 1, he excelled on these throws last season. Manning’s 2,041 passing yards on throws of 15 or more yards in 2011 ranked first in the NFL.

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