Time: Monday, October 14, 8:30 PM
Location: Cleveland Browns Stadium
Network, Announcers: ESPN- Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski & Tony Kornheiser
Line: Giants by 8
Team W/L Records: Cleveland is 1-3; the Giants are 4-0, one of two undefeated teams remaining (along with Tennessee.)
Coaches: Romeo Crennel is 21-31 in his fourth season with the Browns; Tom Coughlin is 39-29 in his fifth season with the Giants.
Last Week for the Browns: On the bye.
Last Week for the Giants: Piled up 523 yards of total offense in a 44-6 obliteration of the Seahawks at the Meadowlands. The 38-point margin of victory was the largest for the G-Men in a regular-season game since a 62-10 wipeout of the Eagles on November 26, 1972.
All-Time Series: Browns lead 26-20-2
Last Meeting: September 26, 2004- The Giants dominated from the start, getting 154 combined yards from Tiki Barber, scoring the game's first 17 points, and rolling to a 27-10 victory. New York out-gained the Browns 390-285 and forced three Cleveland turnovers in the win.
Out or Questionable for New York: Linebacker Antonio Pierce (quadriceps) is questionable.
Out or Questionable for Cleveland: Tight end Kellen Winslow (illness) is out; tackle Kevin Shaffer (concussion), defensive end Shaun Smith (hand), guard Ryan Tucker (hip), and safety Sean Jones (knee) are questionable.
What to watch for the Giants: New York leads the NFL in rushing at 181.2 yards per game. The Browns are 23rd against the run, at 126 yards per game. So it would make sense for the Giants to try and bludgeon Cleveland's defense at the line of scrimmage. Remembering, however, that in the preseason Eli Manning and his receivers picked mercilessly on the youthful Browns defenders, one (I) would expect New York's offense to come out with a similar approach: start off with an attack on the Cleveland secondary, with the ground-hammer waiting in reserve. Worth noting also is that Manning's road passer rating has been higher than his home rating in each of the last three seasons, surely a big reason why the Giants have won eleven consecutive road games dating back to last year.
What to watch for the Browns: In their first five games, the Browns have faced the league's #1-rated defense (Baltimore), the #2-rated defense (Pittsburgh) and now the #3-rated defense in the Giants. Despite losing Osi Umenyiora in the preseason, the Giants have scarcely skipped a beat, thanks to the performance of young players like Fred Robbins and the one-man wrecking crew known as Justin Tuck. New York's elder franchise is tops in the NFL against the pass, sixth against the run, and fifth in sacks,
The Giant defense is a familiar tormentor, having inflicted a preseason hospital job on the Browns back in August; a woodshed whipping that seemed to change the course of their season before it began. Derek Anderson emerged from the carnage with a concussion, a physical shock that has likely contributed to his awful start. With a sauced-up Monday Night crowd just itching for a chance to boo him off the field, DA and the offense- shorn of Kellen Winslow- need to start fast, pretty much the opposite of what happened against this defense back in August.
Good Past Win over the Giants: December 6, 1953- The Browns moved to 11-0 on the season and set a franchise single-game record for points scored that still stands, as they shattered the Giants 62-14. End Darrell "Pete" Brewster was the star of the game with seven receptions for 182 yards and three touchdowns, two of them thrown by George Ratterman, who started at quarterback in place of Otto Graham.
Bad Past Loss to the Giants: December 4, 1994- With a chance to keep pace with Pittsburgh in the AFC Central and virtually lock up a playoff spot, the Browns came out flat against an inferior Giants team and played dreadful, sloppy football, committing five turnover and eleven penalties in front of a booing crowd at Municipal Stadium. Despite their mistakes, the Browns managed to tie the game at 13-all on a Leroy Hoard touchdown jaunt with 4:24 left. But the Giants took the ensuing kickoff and marched 59 yards to Brad Daluiso's game-winning 33-yard field goal with 19 seconds to play.
Next Week for Both Teams: Cleveland goes to Washington; the Giants host San Francisco.