Giants (7-3) vs Browns (0-11)
week the Cleveland Browns were
down 14-0 at halftime. The Browns managed to score 9 points in the second half,
but with the Steelers adding 10 more, they ended up with a 24-9 loss.
Giants were down 16-9 at halftime to the Chicago Bears. Their defense clamped
down and held the Bears scoreless for the second half. Meanwhile the Giants added
13 points to secure a 22-16 win.
- Bengals Wrap-Up
Browns have finished below .500 for the last eight seasons. Mike Pettine gave
them some hope at the end of the 2014 season with a 7-9 record in his second year
as head coach, but after the team finished at 3-13 in 2015 he was replaced. After
going through three first-time head coaches in four years, management chose someone
who's previously had that experience. Hue Jackson had coached the Raiders in 2011
to an 8-8 record and he got the job. Right now the Browns have an 0-11 record
for a franchise record 14 losses in a row, and a 3-29 record over the past 32
games. Changes were made in the offseason, and in rebuilding their offense, the
Browns were after a quarterback. They signed Robert Griffin III when he became
The Browns liked what they
saw in Robert Griffin III, and still could have taken Carson Wentz with their
No. 2 overall pick in the draft, but instead traded with the Philadelphia Eagles
for five draft picks. The Browns did pick up quarterback Cody Kessler in the third
round. The way things have worked out, Griffin was hurt during the first game
of the season, and placed on injured reserve. Backup Josh McCown started, and
couldn't lift his left arm by the end of the next game. Cleveland then started
rookie Kessler at quarterback, and even wide receiver Terrelle Pryor threw some
passes in their third game at Miami.
In game 5 against the Patriots, Kessler
had to leave after a hard hit, and journeyman Charlie Whitehurst took over. Whitehurst
suffered a knee injury, and was cut with an injury settlement the following Tuesday.
Kessler was sacked six times in the following
game, and suffered a concussion in game 7. Undrafted rookie Kevin Hogan became
the Browns' sixth quarterback of the season.
McCown filled in for the loss
to the Jets, and Kessler returned for the Cowboys, and was limping after the game.
Kessler started in Baltimore in the next game with McCown playing as well, and
then sustained his second concussion this season last week. McCown came in to
finish, and he will start against the Giants
as Griffin is back, but not yet cleared to play.
offensive line took a hit when they allowed right tackle Mitchell Schwartz to
leave through free agency. They also lost center Alex Mack to the Falcons. Even
with those two top starters, the Browns allowed 123 quarterback hits, the most
of any team last season. They continue to 'lead' in that category with 92 so far
after 11 games. They're also the worst in allowing sacks with 38, already 9 more
than all last season. The Steelers came to Cleveland with a league-low 13 sacks,
and knocked Cody Kessler out of the game with a late hit after sacking him four
times, and they put four more on Josh McCown.
Their best receiver is Terrelle
Pryor, a former college quarterback, who leads the Browns with 56 catches for
724 yards and 4 touchdowns. He's actually in the top twelve in receptions in the
NFL, despite the team having a porous offensive line and with all their quarterback
chaos. Pryor would be a deep threat if there were any stability in the quarterback
position. Isaiah Crowell leads the team with 561 yards on 129 carries for a 4.3
average, but has averaged less than 3 yards
a carry in six of his last seven games, and in four of those he averaged less
than 2 yards a carry. Last week McCown ran
for 11 yards, and was actually the team's leading rusher as the Browns managed
just 33 yards on the ground.
defense shows spirit, sometimes too much. In the loss to the Steelers, back to
back penalties put the Steelers on the Browns half-yard line at the end of the
first half, and they were able to score their only offensive touchdown of the
game. They held Ben Roethlisberger to a season low 167 passing yards, maybe with
a little help from the windy conditions, but much better than their 266 a game
average, which is a bit worse than last year's. Their rushing defense has digressed
even more so to 144 yards a game. Steelers Le'Veon Bell ran for 146 yards on 28
carries, and he had eight receptions for 55 yards.
This could work to the
favor of the Giants who especially struggle in that area. Linebacker Jamie Collins
has been a boost to the defense. Collins was recently acquired in a trade with
the New England Patriots, and has had 26 tackles in the three games he's played.
Cornerback Pro Bowler Joe Haden leads the team with three interceptions, but is
working through nagging groin injuries. This unit can get it together at times,
but overall they are ranked next to last in
terms of yardage and points given up per game.
Last week we said, points, the
Giants need to score some. Let's visit that again. The Giants wins this season
have been by one, three, four, seven, five, one and six, and it's not because
of the defense. The Giants are allowing 20 points a game which has them ranking
11th in the NFL. Eli Manning is one of the most skilled passers playing the game,
but teams have figured out how to cover his receivers, especially his top one.
After Odell Beckham Jr. scared defenses with his 8 catches for a career-high 222
yards, and 2 touchdowns in the win over Baltimore, his average in the last four
games has been 6 catches for 60 yards, and he's had three touchdowns over that
It's still costly to put the restraints on Beckham, as the Giants have
won those games with Manning turning to others. With Beckham covered, Sterling
Shepard was Manning's top target last week, and he has scored the game winning
touchdown in the past two games. Rashad Jennings has also been tapped as a pass
catcher, and last week had 5 receptions to go with his season-high 21 carries
last week as the Giants continue to improve in that area. Justin
Pugh has missed two straight games, and he will miss this game as well.
In the last two games, opposing
teams have scored touchdowns in their opening drives. It's dangerous to give opposing
teams a shot of confidence right from the start. It's not good news that defensive
end Jason Pierre-Paul has missed practices this week, and is listed as questionable
for this game. He's tied for the team lead with 4 sacks, and leads the team with
14 quarterback hits. Pierre-Paul and
Olivier Vernon combined for 3.5 sacks and seven hurries last week. They, along
with Damon Harrison and Jonathan Hankins, buckled down in the second half and
held Jordan Howard to only 7 yards.
Janoris Jenkins usually covers the top
receivers, and on Sunday that would be Terrelle
Pryor, who has been one of the league's most targeted ones. There's also Corey
Coleman, the 15th overall pick who had 7 catches for 173 yards, and 2 touchdowns
in the first two games, before suffering a broken right hand. He's working his
way back, and could have done better for being targeted 12 times last week. Tight
end Gary Barnidge is one of those pass receiving tight ends the Giants usually
have trouble with. Safety Landon Collins has intercepted passes now in four straight
games, and should be up to the challenge as well as cornerback Eli Apple who turned
in a solid performance last week.
face it. The biggest fear any opposing team has at this point is being ridiculed
for giving the 0-11 Cleveland Browns their first win of the season. The last time
the Browns won a game was in December 2015. The Giants have been wining games,
and winning lots of games gets you into the playoffs. It's how you win them that
will get you into the Super Bowl. This is one they should be able to control from
start to finish. It's the Giants game to win or lose, and it's hard to see them
losing this one.
Thursday at 4:30pm Redskins (6-3-1)
at Cowboys (9-1)
Sunday at 1:00pm Giants
(7-3) at Browns (0-11)
Monday at 8:30pm Packers (4-6) at Eagles (5-5)
Giants, Cowboys and Eagles are the NFC East teams favored to win in these games.
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have not won by more than a touchdown since Nov. 8, 2015 at Tampa Bay, 32-18.
Giants have played in 10 games this
season, and 9 have been decided by a touchdown or less.
did not commit a turnover last week, ending their NFL-long streak of 18 consecutive
games with one.
Giants backup quarterback
Ryan Nassib's brother, Carl, is a rookie defensive lineman on the Browns.
have won only three games since Nov. 23, 2014.
current 53-man roster includes 19 rookies, and 10 players with two seasons of
experience or less.
Browns wide receiver
Terrelle Pryor, a converted quarterback, has thrown nine passes, completing five.
have started 21 quarterbacks in the same time span Eli Manning has started 194
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Dec 4 - Giants at Steelers.
Dec 11 - Cowboys at Giants.
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