The amount of injuries that the New York Giants have sustained in the first quarter of the NFL season is nauseating. Over the past three seasons this team has only been healthy during their playoff run last year. Now a lot of this weeks absences could be due to the fact that the coaching staff wants to ensure some health for next week when they travel to San Francisco, which should be a slobber knocker.
The Cleveland Browns are 0-4 on the season, but have been close to winning in each game. This is the type of game that the Giants normally find a way to lose. And obviously most of the country realizes that being that the line has moved from -10.5 to -9. This game seems very similar to the one last year when New York hosted the Miami Dolphins. That game went down to the wire, when it really had no business being as close as it was.
Keys to the Game: Get the running game back on track. The Giants did not try to run the ball and also were not effective at running the ball when they attempted too. I would like to see more Andre Brown as well. We all know what we are going to get out of Ahmad Bradshaw. A strong runner, but very inconsistent one who does not follow his blocks…..EVER. Brown on the other hand has shown that he makes the most out of every run and does not deviate from the plan. Apparently his lack of playing time is due to his lack of pass blocking. Hopefully this problem will be resolved in the weeks to come.
Do not allow Trent Richardson to beat you. The Cleveland Browns have one true weapon on their offense and that is Trent Richardson. Not to completely discount rookie quarterback Weeden, but he is not an NFL caliber quarterback in my eyes. Richardson on the other hand is a star in the making and if he is allowed to get rolling who knows what may happen.
Keep Eli’s uniform clean. The Giants pass protection had been excellent up until the Eagles game last week, where they failed to keep Manning off the turf. Aside from the lack of protection, they were also called for way too many penalties that brought back a couple plays and ended drives.
Injuries: The New York injury list is endless. The players who have already been declared out are as follows, Hakeem Nicks, Ramses Barden, Jayron Hosley, Rocky Bernard and Kenny Phillips. Both David Diehl and Keith Rivers are doubtful, which probably means that they will not participate as well. What really makes the injuries frustrating is that they are all from the secondary and receiving core, which forces New York to involve players who really should not be on the field.
The Cleveland Browns are not very healthy too. Receivers Mohamed Massaquoi and Travis Benjamin will probably not play. But according to the Browns, Josh Cribbs will be on the field.
Final Analysis: With a difficult stretch of games on the horizon the Giants need to make sure that they get this win tomorrow. They cannot afford to lose to teams that they are better than. The Giants to have a history of doing just that, but I have faith that Coughlin will not allow that this week. The disparity in talent level also makes it a little easier to assume that. New York 27 Cleveland 13.