Is it too early for a must-win game? Facing the possibility of starting the season 0-2, the New York Giants host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, September 16 at MetLife Stadium. I don't know about having to win the game, but these five Giants must show up in a big way on Sunday.
Osi Umenyiora (DE) -- None of New York's vaunted defensive ends (Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul) registered a sack in week one. But Umenyiora seemed the most annoyed of the group. "We all know we have to play better," he told Giants.com. Keep in mind, Josh Freeman turned the ball over 22 times last season, the most of any quarterback in the NFL. Umenyiora has to get after him.
Michael Boley (LB) -- Boley missed much of the preseason with a hamstring injury, but he appears to be fully recovered -- and just in time. Keith Rivers (hamstring) is doubtful for Sunday, so Boley will switch back to weakside linebacker and start. Boley, who nearly returned an interception for a touchdown against Dallas, was second on the team in tackles last season with 93.
Cory Webster (CB) -- Webster is the only reliable cornerback in the team's banged up secondary, but he'll draw a tough assignment on Sunday in speedster Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay's big free agent addition. If Webster can take away Jackson, the Bucs will have trouble moving the ball. However, Jackson, who averaged 18.4 yards per catch in 2012, can change the game in one play.
Victor Cruz (WR) -- As I wrote about earlier this week, Cruz is one of several Giants in need of a bounce-back game on Sunday. He dropped three passes in week one. Cruz called his disappointing performance "a nice little wakeup call" and promised to be more focused this week. That may be tough with the passing of his grandmother earlier this week -- I have a feeling he's going to be on point.
Ahmad Bradshaw (RB) -- Last season, Tampa Bay had the NFL's worst rushing defense (156.1 yards per game), but the revamped Bucs held the Panthers to 10 yards on the ground last week. Bradshaw will be carrying the rushing load with David Wilson trying to work his way out of Tom Coughlin's doghouse. Do I need to remind you that the Giants had the worst running game in the NFL last season?
Adam Martini is a freelance sports writer who proudly wears his Rodney Hampton jersey on Sundays during the football season. He grew up in Queens, N.Y. rooting for the Giants despite being surrounded by Jets fans. Adam follows back Giants fans on Twitter @PegCitySports.