Tampa, FL - The New York Giants are coming off a thrilling comeback road win over perhaps their biggest rival. Although they are set to enter a softer portion of their schedule, coach Tom Coughlin is hardly worried about a letdown.
The Giants look to improve to 3-0 when they face the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second of three straight road games Sunday.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Giants -7 point spread favorites (View NFL odds) for Sunday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 84% of bets for this game have been placed on the Giants -7 (View NFL bet percentages).
New York spoiled the opening game at Cowboys Stadium in dramatic fashion last Sunday night. Eli Manning directed a drive in the final 3:40 that culminated in Lawrence Tynes' 37-yard field goal as time expired for a 33-31 victory.
"People were talking about this like it was the Super Bowl in the second week of the season," linebacker Antonio Pierce said. "We just came here to win a football game."
That approach is exactly why Coughlin seemed unconcerned this week that the Giants would still be celebrating the win over the Cowboys as they arrived in Tampa.
"As I say to them each week at the end of the week, 'Win one game. Win one game and then we will come back together and we will worry about what it is we need to do to be in position to win the next game,'" Coughlin told the Giants' official Web site.
"So I think that has been the position we have taken. The players have understood what is meant by that. And I would expect that that will continue."
The Giants face Kansas City and Oakland, a combined 1-3, in the following two contests.
Manning was the biggest reason why New York won last week, going 25 of 38 for 330 yards and two touchdowns. He was aided by a suddenly dangerous receiving game, an area that was the Giants' biggest question mark coming into the season after the departure of veterans Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer.
Second-year wideout Mario Manningham - filling in after starter Domenik Hixon was injured in the first quarter - caught 10 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown, while third-year player Steve Smith had 10 receptions for 134 yards and a score.
The prolific air attack allowed the Giants to overcome a sub-par effort from their usually potent ground game. Brandon Jacobs was held to 58 yards rushing, while Ahmad Bradshaw had 37.
"The whole team did a good job of gutting it out," Manning said. "This is a good thing to build from."
New York may have to gut it out again this week as its injury list continued to grow. Starting left defensive end Justin Tuck joined Hixon on the sidelines last Sunday, sitting out after injuring his left shoulder in the first half. Tuck said he expects to play this weekend, but Coughlin was more cautious, and both players are uncertain for this game.
The Giants could also be without defensive tackle Chris Canty (calf) and cornerback Aaron Ross (hamstring) again this week.
While New York is likely to be short-handed, it might not need its full roster against the Buccaneers (0-2). Tampa Bay, once known for its dominant defense, allowed 900 yards and 67 points in the first two games - both second most in the league.
The Bucs fell behind 17-0 after the first quarter last week and went on to lose 33-20 at Buffalo. Tampa Bay allowed Fred Jackson to rush for 163 yards and Trent Edwards was able to complete 21 of 31 pass attempts for 230 yards and two scores against a beleaguered Bucs secondary.
That unit gave up three touchdown passes of 40 yards or more in a 34-21 defeat to Dallas on Sept. 13.
"No, I'm not worried about their confidence," said rookie coach Raheem Morris, whose team lost its sixth straight. "We've just got to play better."
Tampa Bay will face a tough task in shutting down Jacobs and Bradshaw, and may try to do so by following Dallas' game plan and crowding the line of scrimmage.
"Every defensive formula revolves around stopping the run and not giving up big plays," linebacker Barrett Ruud said. "If we're not going to do either, we're not going to win many games."
The Bucs were limited to 57 rushing yards last week, one game after running for 174. Byron Leftwich threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns but was 26 of 50 and tossed two interceptions.
The teams will be meeting for the first time since New York defeated Tampa Bay 24-14 in a wild-card game at Raymond James Stadium on Jan. 6, 2008. The Giants took the most recent regular season matchup 17-3 at home Oct. 29, 2006.
Posted: 9/23/09 3:42PM ET