The Browns chose to go with rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden to lead the charge alongside fellow rookie, running back Trent Richardson. While both have shown flashes at timls this season, it is obvious that this year will be graded on a steep learning curve.
Playing in a tough division with the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals will go a long way toward finding out if the Browns made the right decisions with their two first-round draft picks last April.
The Giants, on the other hand, are coming off of their second Super Bowl title in five years and looked to do things differently this season.
Typically known as slow starters, Eli Manning and Co. wanted to save themselves from needing a late-season push to get into the playoffs for another championship run. Instead, a 24-17 home loss to the Dallas Cowboys on the NFL’s opening night and a loss last week to the Philadelphia Eagles has the Giants sitting at 2-2, and in a far-too-familiar position compared to seasons past.
This game should be controlled by the Giants from the start, however.
Here is one bold prediction for each team in Sunday’s matchup.
Browns Fail to Surpass 200 Yards of Offense, Held to Single Digits in Blowout Loss
The Browns have had to navigate through a tough early schedule, and things certainly don’t get much easier this weekend against the Giants.
New York enters the game with the league’s 22nd-ranked defense, allowing 372.3 yards per game. However, the Giants have done a remarkable job of keeping the opposition out of the end zone—allowing only 21 points per game—considering the amount of yardage they give up.
Cleveland will be hard-pressed to get anything going against a relentless front seven that is looking to add to a feeble sack total in comparison to what the group has shown in the past.
The Browns’ offensive line has a done a decent job protecting Weeden, allowing only nine sacks on the year. But the Giants defense should be able to find the backfield the entire afternoon and disrupt the timing of the entire offense all afternoon long.
Eli Manning Throws for 350 Yards and 4 Touchdowns
Manning is off to a solid start to the 2012 season—second in the league in passing yards at 1,320—and the Browns defense will offer nothing in the way of halting his momentum.
The Browns rank 28th in the league against the pass, allowing 286 yards per game. They have also given up nine touchdowns through the air, good for the third-worst mark. While Manning will be without wideout Hakeem Nicks for the game on Sunday, the Giants do a good job of spreading the ball around and should be able to do so with ease against Cleveland.
If New York can get Ahmad Bradshaw and Andre Brown going out of the backfield, look for Manning to gain huge chunks down the field with Victor Cruz. Martellus Bennett should benefit in the middle of the field and near the end zone as well.