In falling at home to the Dallas Cowboys last Thursday night the New York Giants became the first defending Super Bowl champion to lose its season opener since the 1999 Denver Broncos. This week the G-Men will try to avoid becoming an 0-2 Super Bowl champ when they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday afternoon (1 pm Eastern, Fox).

Wrangled in Week 1

New York lost that season opener last Thursday to Dallas 24-17, and deservedly so. The Giants got outgained 433-269, outrushed 143-82 and outplayed, and lost outright as 3.5-point favorites on the Week 1 NFL odds boards.

So New York is already playing catch-up; every other team in the NFC East won last weekend.

The Giants came out of Thursday’s loss relatively unscathed, except for CB Michael Coe (hamstring), who was playing for the already injured Prince Amukamara, and LB Michael Boley (also a hamstring). So there’s a chance New York could be down to a third-stringer at one CB spot Sunday, and to a back-up at MLB. Bettors might want to keep an eye on the status of those three guys before getting down on Sunday’s game.

The Battlin’ Bucs

On the other side of Sunday’s matchup Tampa pulled a minor surprise last Sunday and won its debut under new head coach Greg Schiano, upsetting Carolina as a three-point home dog 16-10. The Bucs, led by rookie RB Doug Martin, ran for 130 yards, held the Panthers to 10 yards rushing, picked off Cam Newton twice and held the ball for over 37 minutes. They also sacked Newton three times and held him to four yards rushing on five attempts.

The Betting Line and Trends

As of Tuesday AM the Giants could be gotten at -7.5 for Sunday’s game at some online sportsbooks, while Tampa could be found at +9 at others. And most NFL betting outlets were listing the total on Sunday’s game at 43.5.

New York and Tampa last met three seasons ago, New York coming out with a 24-0 victory. But with all the changes the Bucs have made since then, that game is ancient history.