Predicted Score: Buccaneers 20, Giants 13
Tampa Bay: Jeff Garcia knocked the Giants out of the playoffs last year as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles… a repeat is coming with Garcia sporting a Buccaneer uniform. The Bucs have rested their main weapons the last two weeks, losing to San Francisco and Carolina in the process but will be at full strength and ready to take on the Giants in the friendly confines of Raymond James Stadium. Rust is a concern, but having a healthy Galloway, Hilliard, and Garcia is the trade-off - probably a wise move considering all three have battled injuries the second half of the season. Earnest Graham should receive the bulk of the rushing load but the key matchup will be the Bucs passing game attempting to exploit the Giants secondary. CB Sam Madison left last week's game against New England with an abdominal injury and has missed practice this week. If he doesn't play, look for the Bucs to find a way to get Galloway on backup CB Kevin Dockery for a score late in the second half.
- Start: WR Joey Galloway, RB Earnest Graham
- Consider: QB Jeff Garcia
- Sit: TE Alex Smith, WR Ike Hilliard, TE Jerramy Stevens
New York Giants: The Giants participated in a playoff-type atmosphere last week, coming up short against the New England Patriots and losing a couple key starters in the process. Starting Center, Shaun O'Hara, has a sprained knee and at best will be limited this week if he plays at all… a potentially huge loss for the Giants offensive line and specifically the running game. Starting LB Kawika Mitchell sprained his knee as well… both players have been fitted for braces and will be evaluated at gametime. With or without O'Hara the Giants will test the Bucs defensive front seven with Brandon Jacobs but at some point Eli Manning will be called upon to win this game, but his knack for INTs (20) will cost the Giants in the end. Is there enough left in the tank… enough to overcome two Manning interceptions? I don't think so.
- Start: WR Plaxico Burress
- Consider: QB Eli Manning, RB Brandon Jacobs
- Sit: WR Amani Toomer, Giants D/ST