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By TOM JONES, Times Staff Writer
Published January 6, 2008
Inside the numbers
0 Playoff victories for each team since they last appeared in the Super Bowl. The Bucs' last playoff victory was in Super Bowl XXXVII. The Giants' last playoff victory was the 2000 season NFC Championship Game.
5-3 Postseason record of coach Jon Gruden(with Bucs and Raiders).
4-6 Postseason record of coach Tom Coughlin(with Jaguars and Giants).
17 Meetings between the two franchises. The Giants lead the series, 10-6. They have never met in the playoffs.
Check it out
Don't have tickets to the game and don't feel like watching at home alone? No worries. Once again, the Beach Theatre, 315 Corey Ave. on St. Pete Beach, is showing the game on the movie screen in high definition with digital surround sound. Admission is free, and there will be a beer bucket special as well as other concessions.
Special teams makes the difference, and No. 17 breaks one. Bucs, 23-20.
Tom Chironis, St. Petersburg
After Jeff Garcia gets knocked out of the game (today), he may never return. Giants, 24-10.
Fred Tornillo, Spring Hill
Every time I pick the Bucs to win, they lose, and when I go against them, they win. But I still see the Giants, and the way they played against the Pats, winning this game. (Eli) Manning looked different, (Brandon) Jacobs is a beast, and (Plaxico) Burress catches everything. (Jeff) Garcia better be ready to scramble and run because that front four the Giants have will bring pressure. Giants, 27-17.
Kevin Luljack, Palm Harbor
Monte Kiffin pulls a surprise or two on defense after a few weeks preparing for G-Men. He'll have them play a little soft early and then go to a change of plan in the second half when (Eli) Manning is notoriously bad. Expect a second half with big pressure coming from all over the place and a defensive score. Bucs, 31-21.
Bob Ryan, South Brunswick, N.J.
What they're saying
I picked the Bucs to go 5-11. Third in the division is where I put them, behind the Saints and Panthers, everybody's, and I do mean everybody's, favorites. Who will step forward and say he or she predicted a division title for them? I want to put a liar's L on your forehead.
Paul "Dr. Z" Zimmerman, Sports Illustrated
This looks to be a field-goal game, either way, and a low-scoring one at that.
How can the Giants pull this off? First, they have to play error-free, put together some drives against a stop-the-big-play defense and come away with at least three points on the end of those drives.
They also must keep Jeff Garcia and Joey Galloway from combining on any big plays, which would give Tampa Bay quick points. Falling behind the Bucs, especially by more than a touchdown, would be lethal.
Vinny DiTrani, Bergen (N.J.) Record
This is the question you have to ask yourself as a Giants fan: Was that the real Eli (Manning) who torched the Patriots for four touchdowns last week? Or is it the real Eli, the one who threw four TDs in the previous five weeks? If it's the former, the Giants will win this game by double digits. I'm guessing he's somewhere in the middle, and Jeff Garcia's going to be the real clutch quarterback Sunday. Bucs, 27-17.
Peter King, Sports Illustrated
The Bucs are one of the surprise teams in the league, winning a division after finishing last in 2006. The Giants are in the playoffs for the third consecutive year, and this team might be the best equipped of those to move on. Tampa Bay has a stout defense again, finishing third in points allowed. They will be a test for Eli Manning and the Giants offense. Manning had a good game last week against the Patriots, showing he can get it done in a big game. That will continue here. On defense, the Giants' active front will get after Jeff Garcia and limit the Tampa Bay offense. If Earnest Graham can come up big, it will really help. But the New York front seven can be tough. The Giants are the better team, and it will show. Giants, 23-17.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
[Last modified January 5, 2008, 20:18:34]