UA-52601647-1
PureSportsNY
Don't Miss

The Giants cannot afford to take the Browns lightly

Photo Credit:  Seth Wenig/Associated Press

 

The New York Giants are riding a five game winning streak but the need to keep winning cannot be understated as the NFC playoff picture is becoming clearer.  Following the Cowboys tenth straight win over the Redskins on Thanksgiving it’s looking more and more like the Giants are fighting for a wildcard playoff berth.  They are currently sitting in 5th place in the NFC behind all the teams that are leading their respective divisions.  The Giants will face all of their divisional foes in the last six games of the season, so this Sunday’s game against the Browns cannot be taken lightly.  Here are a few keys to the Giants securing the victory as they head into a stretch run.

 

Start Quickly :

Last week against the Bears, the defense played poorly in the first half and allowed Cutler and his offense to score on their first three possessions.   At the same time the Giants offense struggled to get going early and went into the locker down 16-9.  Fortunately, the offense clicked on their first two possessions in the third quarter and were able to recover and take the lead.  That being said, the Giants do not want a similar situation to occur against an inferior team that they are expected to beat.  For that reason it’s vital for Manning and the offense and get off to a good start and sustain it into the second half.   The last time the Browns took a lead into the third quarter was against the New York Jets 4 weeks ago.  Since then their offense which ranks 30th in points per game at 16.7 has had difficulty scoring points.  Amassing just 26 total points against their last three opponents.

 

The Running Game Needs to Show Up Again:

The past two weeks the Giants running game has showed up and amassed more than 100 yards per game, against the Bengals and Bears.  Rashad Jennings has carried the load with 87 yards on 15 carries against the Bengals and 85 yards on 21 carries against the Bears, for an average of 4.8 yards per carry.  The offensive line is going to need to provide solid run blocking throughout the game to allow for a balanced attack.  It will be a challenge as the Giants offensive line is still suffering from nagging injuries which has forced them to rely on their backups to step up and perform.  This week Adam Gettis is likely to start at left guard as Justin Pugh, Brett Jones, and Marshall Newhouse are not expected to play.  This will make it all the more challenging to get the running game going and skillfully protect Manning so that he can execute their game plan proficiently.   The Browns rushing defense is porous to say the least, giving up an average of 143.9 yards per game so it’s incumbent upon the Giants to exploit that weakness and find a way to reach the century mark for a third straight game.

 

Can the Pass Rush Succeed For a Third Week Straight:

The Giants pass rush has stepped up their game the past two weeks, notching 7 sacks against the Bengals and Bears.  Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon were especially impressive against the Bears as they put pressure on Cutler throughout the game and accounted for 3.5 sacks (2.5 for Jason Pierre-Paul and 1 for Olivier Vernon).  As the Giants defensive line gets ready to line up opposite Josh McCown and the Brown offense, the importance of getting pressure on their quarterback should not be underestimated.  The Browns have one of the worst offenses in the league, ranking 30th in points per game at 16.7 and 29th in total yards per game at 311.1.  If the Giants can continue their effective pass rush then that sputtering offense will not be able to gain traction and confidence as they attempt to win their first game of the season.

 

Prediction:  Giants win their sixth straight game 24-16

 

 

Dan Evans is a Contributing Writer for PureSportsNY   You can follow him on Twitter @DanEvansPSNY

 

%d bloggers like this: