Browns vs Giants Game Preview
The Cleveland Browns head to East Rutherford and meet the New York Giants as both franchises eagerly start the season ready to move on from last year’s abomination. Both teams combined for only three wins with the Browns achieving the unenviable task of being only the second NFL team to go 0-16.
Both teams did major overhauls. The Browns killed it in the offseason using both the draft and trades to greatly improve their offence while the Giants hired Pat Shurmur to take over as coach.
The Browns went undefeated in the preseason last year but then lost every single game when it mattered. But you’ll hardly recognize this new Browns team. Now led by Tyrod Taylor at quarterback, the Browns also acquired Pro Bowl-caliber studs in Carlos Hyde (RB) and Jarvis Landry (WR).
They also improved their defence, especially against the pass. They’ll look to stop the bleeding as a team that gave up the second-most points in 2017.
New York Giants
The Giants also set new lows losing a franchise-worst 13 games thanks to a paper-thin defence that gave up the second-most yards. And the offence wasn’t any better. Longtime face-of-the-franchise Eli Manning was so bad he was benched.
The silver lining is they got the second-overall pick and took all-world running back Saquon Barkley who will be a huge addition to their sputtering offence. They also added help to their offensive line. All-in-all, the Giants have made fixes. But will it be enough?
The Browns beat the Giants last preseason and they’ll do it again as they have a better offence and a deeper team though that doesn’t say much. It’s unlikely that prized quarterback Baker Mayfield plays much though Drew Stanton is still better than whoever the Giants have.
Browns vs Giants Head-to-Head Records
The Browns and Giants have met five times overall with the Giants winning four of these games. Each game was decided by double-digits with the closest margin of victory being 14 points, at least two scores, from the previous two meetings in 2012 and 2016.
Cleveland’s lone win against New York came in 2008 where they handed the Giants their first regular season loss. This was a Giants team that was coming off an unbelievable Super Bowl victory over the 16-0 Patriots and finished the season 12-4, tied for their best record in the 2000s. The Browns finished 4-12.
Coincidentally, the last two times the Giants beat the Browns, they had winning seasons. The teams have yet to face each other where both teams have losing records although this preseason meeting is the closest they’ll get to that.
As the trend goes, the Giants have used the running game to hammer the Browns. They have averaged close to 160 rushing yards in their five meetings. With their running game revived, they could continue this trend.
Cleveland Browns Recent History
The “Factory of Sadness” that is this new Browns franchise has only managed two winning seasons and one playoff appearance since their rebirth in 1999. Last two years, they hit a historic low going 1-31 including becoming only the second team to not win a single game in a season.
The Browns have had four coaches and five executive changes since 2011. Recently hired John Dorsey, who built the Kansas City Chiefs into a perennial playoff contender gets a crack at this seemingly hopeless situation. But he’s done starting off by acquiring potent pieces on offence through the draft and trades.
Cleveland acquired not one but two solid starting quarterbacks: Tyrod Taylor who recently helped end the Bills’ 19-year playoff drought and Baker Mayfield, a bluechip prospect who could be the franchise player the city has yearned for. Fingers crossed, but the Brownies look to be moving up.
New York Giants Recent History
After winning the Super Bowl in 2011, the Giants have only had two winning seasons and one playoff appearance – a one-and-done against the Packers in the Wild Card round. Longtime coach Tom Coughlin quit in 2015 and the Ben McAdoo era lasted a grand total of 28 games.
The Giants finished 11-5 in 2016, their best record since 2008 but flamed out quickly in the playoffs. They followed that with an embarrassing 3-13 record that had both McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese fired. After cleaning house, the Giants are in a bit of a “soft reboot”.
New GM Dave Gettleman quickly patched up the offence taking dual-threat running back Saquon Barkley in the first followed by guard Will Hernandez. He also added depth to the defence and signed key free agents like Jonathan Stewart (RB) and Nate Solder (OL). This could be a comeback season for the Big Blue.
Cleveland Browns Outlook
For the first time in… forever. The Browns will NOT be the worst team. The additions of Taylor, Landry, and Hyde to the offence gives them a significant upgrade over whatever they had in 2017 and drafting talented corner Denzel Ward to improve the secondary is huge.
And best of all, the Browns have depth, especially on offence. Behind Taylor is Mayfield, who is their proposed quarterback messiah. Mayfield flashes both the skills and swagger of a franchise guy and he has time to learn from a proven vet. Second-round pick Nick Chubb is also a solid running back behind Hyde.
The Browns may still have a losing record but they’re way past their bottom-feeding form. Expect this team to be a serious playoff contender in the next few years.
New York Giants Outlook
Like the Browns, the Giants have had to do a bit of a rebuild. Thankfully, Gettleman knows what he’s doing. Patching up the offence gives longtime starter Eli Manning the chance to perform to his best. Barkley is a generational talent and will transform the offence especially.
The defence, which has been horrible also received some upgrades with Lorenzo Carter (LB) and BJ Hill (DE) from the draft. As long as the offence performs well enough, it gives the defence time to recover. Both teams should play well off each other.
Manning’s time in the Big Apple is coming to a close but with the significant additions to the offence, he’s being given one last shot to turn the ship around. Whether it happens or not, the Giants have nice pieces to build around should they choose to.
The Browns are a better team than the Giants. Shocking. If you pit their starters, the new look Browns have a shot to beat New York. But this is the first game of preseason so expect mostly second and third units to receive most of the playing time.
Mayfield may start and get a few reps but it should be third-string Stanton leading the attack for most of the game. The journeyman QB can at least be effective against backup units. The Giants will roll out either Davis Webb or fourth-round pick Kyle Lauletta, who are both enigmas at this point.
With both teams adjusting to new playbooks, expect this game to be messy. The Browns have a deeper defence particularly on their front-seven. Expect the likes of third-round pick Chad Thomas leading the pass rush to threaten Webb and the patchwork Giants offensive line.
Cleveland should win this game like they did last season. The defence will continuously frustrate the Giants passing offence as Stanton moves the sticks effectively enough to get them a lead. But this is still the Browns and they are a new team, so a degree of caution is advised.