Coming off one trap game, the New York Giants face another team on Sunday (1 p.m., FOX, at Cleveland) that they can very easily overlook in the Cleveland Browns, the worst team in football. In fact, the Browns might be the worst team we've seen in the NFL in years.
The Giants took care of business last Sunday against the Chicago Bears, overcoming a halftime deficit to see their defense ramp things up in the second half for a 22-16 win. The Giants have now won five in a row to improve to 7-3 and are right in the thick of the NFC’s Wild Card picture.
The Browns, on the other hand, well - perhaps Kevin Costner really would do a better job of piecing together a team. This is a group that is pretty bad on both sides of the ball and there is no escaping their 0-11 record.
Hitting the road
Given the fact that the Giants are facing such a bad team and coming off an important win last Sunday, perhaps the fact that they are on the road is a good thing for this team right now. A little focus, a little edge might help keep them from overlooking the worst team in the league. They face an opponent that is a joke right now.
Now after three straight home games, the Giants hit the road for one that, on paper, shouldn’t be all that hard. But that’s where the road mentality might be able to keep them level-headed.
“It's an exciting week for our guys,” head coach Ben McAdoo said. “Haven't been on the road in a little while, so anytime you get a chance to get on the road and bond and spend some time together, some quality time together that way, your team has a chance to grow and get closer.”
The Browns last won on Dec. 13 of last year, a losing streak of 14 games.
The new, old quarterback
Following another concussion for quarterback Cody Kessler, the Browns are giving the nod once again to Josh McCown as their starter against the Giants. It has been a rough year for McCown, as it has been for most of his teammates, as he lacks playmakers at the skill positions.
Making it worse for McCown, he faces a Giants defense that brought an awful lot of pressure on Sunday in the second half of their win over the Bears. The Browns lead the league by a wide margin in both sacks allowed (38) and quarterback hits (92). Not exactly a formula for success.
All-Pro wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was a bit petulant following the Bears game, a disappointing outing for him where he had just five catches. Much has been made of his latest set of antics but Beckham wants to be an impact player (whether that is for selfish reasons or not remains to be seen). Crying about it won’t help, but this Sunday might be the best remedy.
He’ll get the chance on Sunday against the league’s second worst defense, though oddly enough they haven’t been horrible against the pass this season. Beckham will be a focal point of the offense with the Giants knowing that if they can get their playmaker involved, it can break this game early.
A couple early touchdowns and the Giants might be resting their stars come the fourth quarter.