Week 15 Preview: Cleveland Browns vs. New York Giantsby Ethan Hewette December 20, 2020 0 comments
The Cleveland Browns (9-4) travel to the East coast to take on the New York Giants (5-8). The Browns are coming off an emotional Week 14 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. They hope to reclaim their confidence this weekend. Meanwhile, the New York Giants are just two weeks past their surprise win over the Seattle Seahawks but lost 26-7 last week against the Arizona Cardinals.
The Browns have established themselves as one of the best running teams in the NFL. The duo of running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt has led this team to the third-most rushing yards in the league. While both backs have totaled over 700 rushing yards, Hunt has also become valuable in the Browns passing game. He put up a season-high in receiving numbers last week. Leaning on this running attack, quarterback Baker Mayfield has been adequate to bring this team to a 9-4 record. Before his one interception against the Ravens, Baker had gone five consecutive games without throwing a pick. Jarvis Landry has been the main target for Baker this season, but this offense has relied heavily on their run game. However, Baker will likely have to pull more weight this game because the Giants have a strong run defense.
Defensively it has been hit or miss for the Browns. The defensive line has been stout across the board. Myles Garrett leads the team in sacks with 10.5 sacks and nine tackles for loss. Olivier Vernon, who is in a revenge game himself, has totaled seven sacks to pair with Garrett. Linebacker B.J. Goodson has been a force to be reckoned with on the inside and leads the team in tackles. However, safety Andrew Sendejo is out this week, and starting corner Denzel Ward is also questionable.
While most thought this could have been an Odell Beckham Jr revenge game, COVID-19 and injuries have flipped the script. Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is currently listed as questionable for today’s contest. Still, Colt McCoy is expected to get the start against the Browns. McCoy was drafted by the Browns way back in 2010. Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett will also be absent due to COVID-19 concerns, giving none other than tight end coach Freddie Kitchens the responsibility of calling plays. Previously, McCoy relied heavily on his team’s run game in their surprise victory over the Seahawks. Still, unfortunately for Wayne Gallman and company, this Browns defense is much tougher on the run. Gallman has taken the brunt of the carries and snaps this season and has totaled 561 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 4.6 yards per carry.
COVID-19 also forced standout Giants cornerback James Bradberry to be sidelined for today’s contest leaving a glaring hole in the Giants’ already depleted secondary. Rookie corner Darnay Holmes will also be absent from the game. Right now, the only positive on this defense is their defensive line led by Leonard Williams. Williams has totaled 8.5 sacks this season and 10 tackles for loss, leading the team in both categories.
Date: December 20th, 2020
Start time: 8:20 P.M. EST
Location: East Rutherford, NJ
Stadium: MetLife Stadium
TV Info: NBC
Betting Odds Sponsored by Jazz Sportsbook
Point Spread: CLE -6.5 (-110) | NYG +6.5 (-110)
Moneyline: CLE -310 | NYG +235
Over/Under: O 44 (-110)｜U 44 (-110)
While this game likely won’t be a blowout, the Giants are hurting right now. With changes once again for the offense, it could be a struggle against a good Browns front seven, who can get after the quarterback. Historically, the Browns are awful against the spread as a road favorite sitting at 1-8-1 since 2014. However, this Browns team is the best they have been in decades, and the defense looks ready to stifle McCoy and company. Take Cleveland -6.5.
In terms of point totals, there is going to be a fair amount of scoring. While most of it will be Cleveland, the Giants will still be able to scrape together some points as most NFL teams do. Cleveland, however, has a fire lit under them right now after a hard loss last week. Take the over knowing that Cleveland’s offense is going to explode in this game.
Throughout the first half, the Browns are able to run a balanced, explosive offense behind the legs of Chubb and Hunt, and the arm of Baker. Then on top of that, the play-calling of head coach Kevin Stefanski. The Browns go into halftime with a 21-3 lead as the Giants struggle to get any offense going. In the second half, it’s the same story. The Browns continue to keep the Giants’ defense guessing. Baker slices up a depleted Giants secondary leading his team to victory and cementing themselves as a playoff Wild Card team.
Final Score: Cleveland 35, New York 17