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|New York Giants||+5
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The Browns need two wins in New York (Giants this week and Jets next week) to feel good about making the playoffs – these Giants just don’t have what it takes to stop that.
Browns -5 (-110)
|Browns vs Giants Information|
|What||Cleveland Browns vs New York Giants|
|Where||MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ|
|When||Sunday, December 20, 2020; 8:20 PM ET|
|How to watch||NBC|
These 9-4 Cleveland Browns almost took care of the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football in Week 14, with franchise quarterback Baker Mayfield proving his throwing arm was first-round-pick worthy, and with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt playing doubly dangerous from out of the backfield.
The 5-8 New York Giants are trying to stay in contention for the NFC East but having to face these playoff-worthy Browns is not going to help, with their young Daniel Jones about to face a pass rush that averages 2.6 sacks per game, something a quarterback who has already been taken down 37 times this season should be concerned about.
These two cross-conference rivals have met each other 51 prior times (including 2 postseason games), with the New York Giants winning 22 of those games and the Cleveland Browns winning 27, plus, there have been 2 ties.
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In his third NFL season, Browns QB Baker Mayfield is finally settling in at his position, now able to sit calmly in a pocket and get a pass off just as easily as he can do while scrambling, his newest (and fourth) head coach Kevin Stefanski now game-planning around his franchise starter’s skillset.
Mayfield will be facing a Giants pass defense that is currently 17th most effective in the league after allowing opponents to pass for 242 yards per game, which is still about thirty yards more than Baker averages every outing, mostly because the run game he works with takes up the majority of snaps.
This will be a good test of Mayfield’s ability to connect with his key playmakers – receivers Jarvis Landry and Rashard Higgins plus tight end Austin Hooper and David Njoku plus running back Kareem Hunt – all capable of catching passes if Baker can manage to hit the open receiver in time.
Currently, the New York Giants are the second least productive offense in the league, their squad averaging just 300 total yards and 18.3 points per game, which has led the team to some inconsistent games that should have been won but weren’t.
Five of the team’s losses this season were by one score or less, which says this team is getting close enough to win games but can’t close the deal in the fourth quarter, something that typically happens with a young QB under center.
Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is in just his second pro year, and so far, he has completed just 62.6 percent of his passes for 2,462 yards and 8 touchdowns with 9 interceptions, numbers that have not helped put his team in a position to dominate opponents.
These three players are the majority of the Browns offensive line, and right now they are listed as questionable for this Week 15 matchup, not a good sign for a team that depends on their ability to pass protect and bust open holes for the run game.
Tretter is dealing with a knee issue, Teller is suffering from an injury to his ankle and Conklin also has an injured knee, all the types of bumps and bruises that can keep an O-lineman from playing effectively in the trenches, where body leverage is key.
Browns QB Baker Mayfield and the team’s two RB’s Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt have absolutely benefited from the superior line play in Cleveland, so their success against the Giants might depend heavily on whether these three big guys and get healthy enough to suit up.
For Giants QB Daniel Jones to be successful, his main targets have to catch the balls he does throw, and Sterling Shephard did a good job of doing that in Week 14 during the team’s loss to the Cardinals.
During that campaign, Shephard was targeted 5 times and he caught 3 of those passes for 35 yards, the longest of those being a 24-yard pickup, a receiver that on the season has caught almost 74 percent of the passes thrown to him.
In his rookie season back in 2016, Shephard posted 8 touchdowns, but right now so far in 2020 he has only been to the end zone once, something that must change if the Giants expect to win out the season and rule their (pathetic?) division.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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