If you are a New York Giants fan, you might want to close your eyes for this one. Looking at the Giants’ offensive line through seven weeks, both of their tackles, Andrew Thomas and Cameron Fleming, rank at the bottom of the NFL in pass-blocking efficiency.
In fact, among offensive tackles with a minimum of 100 snaps, Thomas and Fleming rank worst and second-worst. That should give you a good idea of just how inefficient they have been in the category.
Now, they head into a difficult matchup against two of the best pass rushers in the league, Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul. The Giants rarely run the ball effectively, but that is actually their best chance at winning against Tampa Bay on Monday night.
Of course, the odds are stacked against them, but both Fleming and Thomas are more refined in run blocking then holding up in the passing game. Gaining as much time of possession as possible is how the Giants must operate, which evidently would slow down the game when they might want to activate a fast-paced offense.
Theoretically, utilizing up-tempo offensive techniques should keep opposing defenses on their toes and cause miscommunications and errors. However, the Giants simply don’t have the luxury of increasing their pace with their evident lack of playmakers and inability to move the ball efficiently against quality teams, let alone bad ones. They simply turn the ball over and find themselves departing from the field just as quickly as they made their way onto it.
Dooming their defense to a game of constant battling without much rest is how the first seven weeks of the season has played out. The Giants have been vastly outmatched in time of possession and failed to establish a running game unless it is quarterback Daniel Jones scampering for 80 yards. Without star running back Saquon Barkley, Big Blue is simply castrated.
The most difficult matchup for the New York Giants and week eight:
The two tackle spots for the Giants should be their primary concern, as it has been every single week. Barrett, who has had an underwhelming season compared to his 2019 performance, has two sacks on the year and 32 quarterback hurries. He has played below expectations, but he is still a dangerous pass rusher that can dominate at any given moment.
Last week against the Las Vegas Raiders, he was one of the best-graded run defenders and managed to get after the quarterback several times, recording four hurries. Facing off against Andrew Thomas should provide a much easier experience, especially with the breakdown of fundamentals from the 4th overall pick this year.
On the opposite side, the Bucs have Pierre-Paul, who has been a stud this season, recording six sacks and 13 quarterback hurries. He has had a better time reaching the quarterback than his counterpart Barrett but is a bit worse in run defense.
If the Giants notice their weaknesses, they should be running the ball toward the strong side of Tampa‘s line and trying to force their tackles behind the pocket and Daniel Jones. As long as Fleming and Thomas don’t get beat inside, the Giants can withstand their dominant pass rush, but their secondary is equally as strong if not better, posing a significant threat.
At every level, the Giants are outmatched in this contest, so I completely expect a blow-out by Tampa. Again, the only way the Giants can possibly stay in this game is if they run on the ball and burn clock as much as possible, keeping the score low.
The Giants’ defense also has to get off the field on third downs and get after quarterback Tom Brady. Tampa will be without one of their star receivers in Chris Godwin, so we can expect James Bradberry to man-mark Mike Evans all evening.
Hopefully, defensive coordinator Patrick Graham can dial up some creative blitzes to rattle Brady early on. Expect to see a healthy dosage of safety Logan Ryan being utilized in different facets.