Team Giants


Giants - Browns
Game 14 preview
Sunday Dec 20, 8:20 PM - Browns at Giants

Giants (5-8) Browns (9-4)
On Monday night the Cleveland Browns played one heck of a game with the Baltimore Ravens. There was plenty of football action, but the Browns ended up on the losing side of a 47-42 score.
The Giants game a day earlier was much less exciting, at least for their fans. The Arizona Cardinals controlled the whole game, and left MetLife Stadium with a 26-7 win.

Cleveland Browns
Their last winning season was in 2007 when the Browns record was 10-6. As recently as 2017, they were 0-16 on the year. The winning season before that was five years earlier in 2002. They went 9-7 to finish second in the division, and lost in the wild card game to the Steelers. The Browns have a losing history, and their diehard fans even lost the chance to see them play games from 1996-1998 when owner Art Modell moved his football team to Baltimore for the 1996 season.
Cleveland retained the name Browns, the team's colors, logo and records, and had a financial commitment from the league to help in the construction of a stadium by 1999. Modell referred to his new team as the "Baltimore Somethings". He launched a fan contest to select a name, and his team became the Baltimore Ravens. Now at 9-4 the Browns finally have another winning season, and a shot at making the playoffs.

Browns Offense
Is Baker Mayfield playing above his level, or is this the level everyone was expecting to see in his first or second year? Right now it looks like three's the charm. On Monday, Mayfield threw his first interception since winning in a Cincinnati game where he also threw five touchdowns. The five game stretch without an interception is the longest of his career. Mayfield has 23 touchdowns on the year, and 8 interceptions. Last week he threw 47 passes, the most ever in one game in his career.
The Browns like to run the ball, and they do that more than they pass. Nick Chubb is the leading rusher on the team, and Kareem Hunt is second, same as last year. Chubb averaged 5 yards a carry last season, and had 8 touchdowns. Now he's averaging just short of 6 yards a carry, and has 9 touchdowns despite missing four games. The Browns suffered two of their four losses when he did not play.
The offensive line is playing very well with their run blocking and they have improved on pass protection. Last year they gave up 41 sacks, and this year so far only 17. The top receiver on the team is Jarvis Landry who has 60 catches for 728 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Browns have scored more than 40 points in each of their last two games.

Brown Defense
In their loss to the Ravens, they gave up 47 points, allowed 231 rushing yards and 5 rushing touchdowns. To be fair, quarterback Lamar Jackson was responsible for over half of those yards, and Giants won't be able to wreck any defense like that. Still, during the Giants recent four game winning streak, which came to an abrupt end last week, they averaged 162.3 rushing yards per game. The Browns rushing defense was near the bottom last year, and they are much better now, allowing 114 yards per game.
The defense had 38 sacks last season, and they now have 34, with Myles Garrett being responsible for 10.5 of them, even though he missed two games after being put on the COVID-19 list. Garrett admitted this week that he is still undergoing breathing treatments, and has no idea when he'll feel like himself again. Former Giant Olivier Vernon has 7 sacks, and Sheldon Richardson is next with 4.5. Another former Giant, linebacker B.J. Goodson, is leading the team with 84 tackles and 2 interceptions.

Giants Offense
Jason Garrett tested positive for COVID-19, and Freddie Kitchens will call the plays for the offense on Sunday. Kitchens was the head coach in Cleveland last year, and should have some ideas about what may or may not work going against their defense. Daniel Jones, hampered by his hamstring and ankle issues, will not start in this game. Some thought Jones should not have started last week, where he had a terrible outing against the Cardinals.
Jones did not have a single rushing attempt for the first time in his career, was sacked 6 times, and only completed 11 of 21 passes for 127 yards, and no touchdowns. Jones also fumbled three times, losing one, before being removed for backup Colt McCoy late in the fourth quarter. The offensive line played poorly, and the Giants rushed for only 78 yards in their loss to Arizona. McCoy will play for the first time against the Browns, who drafted him in the third round in 2010.
McCoy started in the Giants win over the Seahawks two weeks ago. The offensive line played much better then, allowing just 2 sacks, and their run blocking helped to provide 190 rushing yards and 1 touchdown, to go along with McCoy's one touchdown pass. That, and a Graham Gano field goal, gave them enough points to squeak out a victory over Seattle thanks to the efforts of their defense. They'll likely stick with a run oriented offense with McCoy starting, though he might be more comfortable with the passing attack in his second go around.

Giants Defense
It's obvious to defensive coordinator Patrick Graham that stopping the run will be the top priority against the Cleveland Browns. The Browns rank third in the NFL in rushing yards averaging 156 per game. That helps keep pressure off their quarterback Baker Mayfield, and the Browns have seen that they have had much more success this year by having Mayfield throw the ball less. In two of their games last month against Houston and Philadelphia, Mayfield completed only 12 passes in each one, with no touchdowns and no interceptions. The Browns won both games. You have to remember that Cleveland was coming off a 6-10 year where Mayfield threw 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. Mayfield is only in his third year, and limiting his throws could be a good development plan.
If the Giants can slow down the run, and the passing game comes more into play, there could be consequences. The Giants will be going it without James Bradberry, their best cornerback in the secondary. Bradberry had close contact with an individual who tested positive, and was placed on the COVID-19 list. Odell Beckham Jr. would have loved to be in this game, but the Giants won't have to face him. Beckham's second season with the Browns was cut short after seven games due to a knee injury. In the last four games before losing to the Cardinals 26-7, the defense held each of their opponents to 20 points or less. They were put in poor situations to defend in that loss, and need their offense and special teams unit to play better against the high scoring Browns.

The magic the Giants had, upsetting the Seahawks for their fourth consecutive win, did not continue for them in last week's game with the Cardinals. Now they are up against the red hot Cleveland Browns before playing in Baltimore against the Ravens. If the Giants lose their next two games, and Washington can beat either the Seahawks or Panthers in these next two weeks, the Giants will be eliminated. With their starting quarterback and top cornerback sidelined, the only edge the Giants may have is Freddie Kitchens knowledge of the former team he coached just last year.

NFC East Games
Sunday at 1:00pm 49ers (5-8) at Cowboys (4-9).
Sunday at 1:00pm Seahawks (9-4) at Washington (6-7).
Sunday at 4:25pm Eagles (4-8-1) at Cardinals (7-6).
Sunday at 8:20pm Browns (9-4) at Giants (5-8).
No NFC East teams are favored to win in these games.
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Colt McCoy was drafted by the Browns, and started 21 games before being traded in 2013.

The Browns have not been to the playoffs since 2002, the longest stretch of time of any team in the NFL.

Four NFL teams, the Browns, Lions, Jaguars, and Texans, have never appeared in the Super Bowl.

The Browns have not been to the playoffs since 2002 - the longest of any team in the NFL.
Next Games
DEC 27 Giants at Baltimore

JAN 3 Cowboys at Giants

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