Week 11 has been incalculable. The Houston Texans stunned the Tennessee Titans in Nashville. The Indianapolis Colts marched into Orchard Park and shockingly dominated the Buffalo Bills to the tune of 41-15. Parity has been a consistent theme throughout the course of an unpredictable campaign.
The New York Giants will aim to add to the unpredictability on Monday evening when they encounter Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Losers of two consecutive contests, Bruce Arians’ Buccaneers desperately need to secure a victory over an underachieving Giants unit.
Both teams possess several exciting playmakers on both sides of the ball. We've identified three player-vs-player matchups worth monitoring with great attention to detail.
MIKE EVANS VS. JAMES BRADBERRY
The Buccaneers may not be at full strength offensively, but the Giants' defense will still be faced with several difficult tasks on Monday night, including in their attempts to slow down and bracket All-Pro wide receiver Mike Evans.
Evans has been in incredible form as of late. Brady has relied on his top wide receiver to get him through a difficult stretch, and the three-time Pro Bowl receiver has rewarded his faith in him by securing five touchdown receptions in his last three contests. Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham may approach the situation by shadowing Evans with his team's top cornerback.
A 2020 Pro Bowl selection, James Bradberry routinely draws the most difficult assignment in coverage. Holding Evans in check has felt like a nearly impossible task as of late, but Bradberry possesses the technique, smarts, and physical skill-set to make this an intriguing battle.
SHAQ BARRETT VS. ANDREW THOMAS
The Buccaneers possess one of the most talented and fearful front sevens in all of professional football. They've compiled an impressive 22 sacks in nine games played, and premier pass rusher Shaquil Barrett is leading the way with 5.5 quarterback takedowns. Barrett has been a model of consistency since joining the Buccaneers from the Denver Broncos in 2019. The former undrafted free agent out of Colorado State has accumulated an astounding 33 sacks and counting in just 40 games as a Buccaneer.
Monday represents a decent opportunity for Barrett to add to his impressive totals. New York's starting left tackle Andrew Thomas was activated from injured reserve on Monday afternoon and should replace Matt Peart as Daniel Jones’ blindside protector. Thomas will be playing in his first contest since suffering an ankle injury back in Week 6. Thomas will have to shake the rust off immediately, as he'll face a massive test against Barrett.
KENNY GOLLADAY VS. BUCCANEERS’ STRUGGLING SECONDARY
An expensive offseason free-agent signing to the tune of $72 million over four years, wide receiver Kenny Golladay has begun his tenure as a Giant in less-than-desirable fashion. Monday's contest against a leaky Buccaneers secondary could serve as the remedy all parties involved require to get Golladay on the right track. The former Detroit Lion should receive plenty of opportunity in the form of targets as fellow receiver Sterling Shepard remains sidelined with an injury.
The Buccaneers' secondary has been an unmitigated disaster due to a combination of injury and underwhelming play. Reinforcements are on the way in the form of Sean Murphy-Bunting. Golladay will likely see a ton of Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean in coverage on the outside.
Daniel Jones and this Giants offense are going to need to score points in abundance if they hope to compete with the Buccaneers and their high-flying offensive attack. It could lead to a much-needed breakout performance for Golladay.