New York Giants: 3 things to watch for in week 8 against the Buccaneers

Alexander Wilson
New York Giants, Daniel Jones
Oct 4, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) throws against the Los Angeles Rams during the second half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants are in for an intimidating battle against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who represent a far more superior team in almost every category. Aside from their kicker, Tampa has the advantage over the Giants, but Joe Judge’s team has fight.

Despite being outmatched, out-tooled, and outgunned, Judge will lead his team into battle with a clear-cut plan to compete against Tampa, who are coming off two impressive wins against the Green Bay Packers and Las Vegas Raiders. The Giants, on the other hand, lost a heartbreaking game to the Philadelphia Eagles in week seven, thanks to a dropped ball by Evan Engram in the waning moments.

Three New York Giants things to look out for against the Bucs:

1.) Shane Lemieux at left guard

One of the bigger storylines leading up to week 8 was starting left guard will Hernandez contracting COVID-19. He will miss this week’s contest against Tampa and possibly next week as well, allowing rookie Lemieux an opportunity to gain essential film.

Depending on how well Lemieux plays, it could determine the future of Kevin Zeitler, who has been rumored to be on the trade block at the November 3 deadline.

Lemieux was a fantastic guard for Oregon in 2019, with aggressive hands and a gritty mentality. The primary issue with him has been his over-aggression in the NFL, jumping out of his stance too fast and attacking rather than mirroring.

In the run game, Shane will be a force, but in pass blocking, he needs to work on keeping his feet steady and disciplined. Against a very talented defensive front for the Buccaneers, his weaknesses will undoubtedly be exposed, giving him some solid film to work off of.

2.) Sterling Shepard’s impact, how he opens up the offense

Gaining back Sterling Shepard against Philly last week proved to be significant. He finished the contest with six receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown. Shepard’s presence completely revitalized the offense and opened things up for quarterback Daniel Jones, especially in the red-zone. Jones was forced to rely on Evan Engram and Darius Slayton for the last four weeks.

Opposing teams simply schemed them out of the contest and forced Jones to rely on his lesser receiving options, but Shepard’s influence should prove to be impactful moving forward. He’s still dealing with turf toe but managed to play in 77% of offensive snaps last week, so I imagine that number will increase or hover around the same.

3.) Daniel Jones’ pocket awareness against a solid defensive front

One factor that has improved with more playing time is Daniel Jones’ awareness. He has cut back on the fumbles significantly, and having two of the worst tackles in the NFL has not helped his progression.

I think Jones is finally getting the hang of the offensive scheme and beginning to understand its strengths and weaknesses.

The Bucs will offer him plenty of diverse looks and elite pass rushers, so DJ must rely on his instincts and awareness in the pocket. This will be a fantastic test for him, seeing how far he has come since his week one struggles against the Pittsburgh Steelers.