As BetOnline patrons prepare for their Monday Night Football picks, they have to evaluate who is and isn't playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Giants.
We can be relatively certain that both teams will have a potentially key offensive contributor in the lineup.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski of the Bucs and running back Saquon Barkley of the Giants have been activated after some injury rehab.
Gronkowski, the four-time All-Pro, caught two TD passes in the Super Bowl, then two in each of the first two regular season games in 2021. But he's played only once in the last six games, and only briefly at that. He has a rib injury and most recently, back spasms.
Barkley missed almost all off last season with a knee injury. He suffered an ankle sprain against Dallas in Week 5 and hasn't played since. He's averaged only 3.6 yards per carry.
As a rookie, he played all 16 games and ran for 1307 yards, with 721 more on the receiving end.
There are absences to talk about. Antonio Brown, not the most earnest individual, has a positive Covid test and it was revealed that he had presented a phony vaccination card. So that's another chapter in his checkered life (let's see if the media gets on his case like they did with Aaron Rodgers).
The Bucs will also likely be without Vita Vea, who is listed as doubtful. He is the nose tackle on an impressive defensive line that, in the category of yards-per-carry allowed, is second in the NFL.
The Giants will be missing wide receiver Sterling Shepard and cornerback Logan Ryan. And running back Devontae Booker (hip injury) would probably not play, and that could leave Big Blue in a pickle if Barkley is limited.
Here are the odds at BetOnline from which we will make our Monday Night Football picks:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -11
New York Giants +11
Over 49.5 points -110
Under 49.5 points -110
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Tom Brady threw two interceptions in the opener against Dallas, then went through a period of six games where he was picked off only once. But now he's tossed two picks in each of the last two games, so he's got to get that cleaned up. It's doubtful that the script will change, as the Bucs throw the ball 67.4% of the time (an NFL high).
So it's really a matter of him being able to connect with Chris Godwin (57 catches) and Mike Evans (nine TD's). And he may need a reliable third wideout if Gronk is not of much use. And maybe that's a problem. The Giants have faced Patrick Mahomes and Derek Carr in their last two games and have allowed a total of 36 points.
Let's see what Daniel Jones is able to do. The New York quarterback has some choices, in that he will have Darius Slayton, Kadarius Toney and Kenny Golladay available. And he can escape a pass rush with his athletic ability.
If you like trends, you may want to consider a few here. Apparently Tom Brady is on a nice run of covering 41 of 57 when he is coming off a loss. But the Giants have covered 12 of their last 14 as a road dog. They have shown that they can hang tough. And Tampa Bay's secondary problems could bite them again. We'll take the points, with a smaller play on the under.
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