Time is running out for the New York Giants, who enter this week one game behind their rival Washington Football Team. Tonight they’ll face a tough test against a Cleveland Browns team enjoying their best season in decades (8.20pm ET Sunday; TV: Live on NBC).
With the Pittsburgh Steelers having locked up the AFC East, the Browns will look simply to keep their standing as one of the top wildcard teams. Not quite locked into that spot, Cleveland will look for a win today to keep their solid 2020 campaign going. New York meanwhile, may as well be playing for their playoff lives. Depending on the result of the Washington/Seattle Seahawks game earlier in the day, a win by the Giants could put them back in first place in the East. A loss however, not only helps Washington but also potentially keeps the door open to both the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys.
Will Colt McCoy Be Enough Against the Browns?
The Giants have five wins on the year and yet, thanks to their 2-0 head-to-head mark against the Washington Football Team this year, New York is right in the thick of things in the NFC East. That’s in large part been thanks to a core group of young players who look like they will have bright futures and will be able to lead the Giants to a bright future as well. Like with all young players however, as well as a brand new first-year head coach, there are bound to be growing pains. New York certainly felt those early in the year when they opened their season up with an 0-5 mark and 1-7 record in their first eight. Then, in week nine, the Giants defeated Washington as their first of four straight wins including against the Seahawks. The team is coming off a loss to the Arizona Cardinals and a loss at the QB position as well. After returning to the lineup last week, Daniel Jones is out again as Colt McCoy will be back in the spotlight as the guy to lead the Giants to a hopeful NFC East title.
Injuries have been the story for not just the Giants this year, but all of the NFC East and really, all of the NFL in general. So losing Jones is definitely a blow but not one New York is ill-equipped to move on from. After all, it was McCoy who was tasked with starting in the Seattle game, which ended up being a pretty big win for the Giants. That’s not to say he is the best option as the Giants would much prefer to have Jones out there, but McCoy should be capable if New York continues to run the offense in a very basic way through their backup QB.
Fortunately for the Giants, McCoy will have some help running the offense as standout running back Wayne Gallman will be in the lineup. When the 2020 season began, the Giants found out they’d be without their all-pro running back, Saquon Barkley. No one really expected Gallman would break out in his absence but he’s done just that. In the past three weeks, Gallman has handled the bulk of the carries, totaling no fewer than 50 yards per game and topping 90 in two of his last three. In addition, tight end Evan Engram has found his groove and wide receiver Darius Slayton has been effective as well. McCoy has a decent share of weapons to work with and an offensive line that is improving as well. The showdown against Cleveland won’t be easy, but much like when the Giants beat the Seahawks, the team is certainly capable of picking up another surprise win this week.
Can Cleveland Finish the Year Strong?
As mentioned before in this preview, the Browns are enjoying one of their best seasons in decades. So often with Cleveland, early season successes have been thrown away by the team’s inability to win late in the year. Last week, the Browns, coming off a four game winning streak, suffered one of those classic losses as they just couldn’t outlast the Baltimore Ravens in a 49-42 shootout. The Browns didn’t choke and they didn’t lose necessarily because they weren’t good enough. The loss stung nonetheless, especially as it harkened back to bad memories of the past. Fans in Cleveland have been waiting for this team to be relevant again and 2020 has the making of that. It still does, but the Browns will need to put that game in the rearview mirror and focus on a New York team that has a lot of its own to play for.
The Browns are a good team and they will bring that team into the Meadowlands this week looking for their 10th win. Baker Mayfield has been enjoying recent success under center, helping lead Cleveland to back-to-back 40+ point games. However, the team’s defense has faltered in the same span, allowing over 40+ points as well. There is only so much Mayfield can do but this year, he has looked much like the QB Cleveland has been hoping he’d be since they drafted him as their franchise guy a few years back. Mayfield will be helped in the backfield by Nick Chubb, who has rushed for just under 900 yards this year and could break that 1,000 mark this week. Chubb is one of the most explosive backs in the league and the Giants run defense will likely struggle to stop him.
So coming to this preview’s predictions against the odds put up by big US sport betting sites, USAbetting now decides on our betting picks for this game.
Both the Browns and Giants enter this game coming off losses. New York’s was a bit one-sided compared to the emotional roller coaster Cleveland went through. The Browns no doubt have the on-paper advantage as the Giants will be starting a backup quarterback. But as said above, that didn’t change the fact that New York stunned the Seahawks and could well stun the Browns as well. So, it’s decision time:
- Go with the Giants +6.5pts on the spread @ best odds of -110 with Bovada.
- We fancy the over 44 total points @ -115 with Bovada, Bookmaker or Intertops.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.