The New York Giants (2-2) welcome Cleveland Browns (0-4) to town Sunday afternoon, and you would expect Big Blue to be eager to take the field.
This game can be construed in two ways. For one, the Giants can rebound and make a statement in the process. They can use this game to work out some of the wrinkles before they begin a difficult stretch of games v. San Francisco, Washington, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Green Bay.
Or the team can overlook the Browns and focus on those upcoming opponents. A trap game is the common title for it. And the Browns have enough talent to win this game if the Giants’ hearts aren’t into it.
Tale of the tape
The Browns have lost 10 consecutive games, but nave not lost a game by more than 10 points. They nearly beat the Eagles in the season opener and lost by a touchdown to the Ravens.
The Giants struggled to stop Eagles back LeSean McCoy last week, and now they welcome rookie Trent Richardson into town. Richardson is the center of the Browns’ offense as both a tough runner between the tackles and as a receiver out of the backfield.
Another rookie, Brandon Weeden, starts under center. Against the Ravens, he completed 25 times for 320 yards. You would the Giants to respond with a heavy pass rush to rattle the first-year quarterback.
Cleveland’s defense has sacked opposing quarterbacks 13 times this year. There are no standouts along the defensive line, but they’re getting the job done. The defense will be without Joe Haden, one of the league’s top cornerbacks who is serving a suspension.
Offensively, these teams are on opposite spectrums. New York owns the NFL’s No. 7 offense, averaging 28 points per game. The Browns average 18 points per game.
Weeden has completed 54 percent of his passes, and Richardson, who leads the team in both rushing and passing, has 344 yards of total offense through four games.
The winless browns have been outscored 98-73 this year, and seemingly their offense has been inferior in every game. They’ve been outrushed, outpassed and allow more third-down conversions than they’ve earned.
One key stat: They allow 25 yards per kick return. Is that something David Wilson can exploit this week?
Last time they met
This game will mark the first meeting between these two teams since Week 6 in the 2008 season.
That year, obviously the same that the G-Men won the Super Bowl, Cleveland won, 35-14 at home.
Derek Anderson (how about that name for a throwback) threw for two touchdowns and zero interceptions. He outplayed Manning, who threw three picks, including one that was returned by Eric Wright for a touchdown.
The Giants were 4-0 at the time, and after the loss they won seven straight games.