On paper when you look at this match up, you think Super Bowl Champions vs. quite possibly the worst team in the National Football League. The Cleveland Browns head in to MetLife Stadium on Sunday with an 0-4 record. The Browns are still without their star cornerback Joe Haden as he serves his final game of his suspension this weekend. For New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, there should be absolutely no problem slinging the ball through the Browns secondary. The New York defense is stellar to say the least. The G-Men have a fierce and dangerous defensive front that is stacked with quarterback assassins bound to give rookie Brandon Weeden a hard time. But what if Cleveland went in to New York and shocked everyone? This is where the beauty of “any given Sunday” kicks in.
The Browns are entering Sunday’s game coming off another close loss and find themselves in a world of trouble. Another loss would surely crush the inexperienced youthful Browns. However, for some reason they always compete against stronger teams, especially the Giants. In their last meeting in 2008, the Browns not only upset the Giants, they routed them 35-14 on Monday Night Football. Manning was not his usual self and threw 3 interceptions. Why not take all the tape from that game and analyze it? What would it hurt? Some player personel have changed but the mentality has not for the Giants. Is it possible that four years later, the Browns can do it again?
In today’s NFL, it seems that teams often find themselves playing down to the level of their competition. This could very well be the case this Sunday for the Giants. I have one key and one key only to the Browns pulling off the upset. Time of possession is the “X” factor in this game. If Cleveland can control the clock in their favor, this is a very winnable game for them.
To do this, Weeden must find a way to move the chains. Consistent three and outs like we have seen the first four games, are not going to fly. Though it should be a given, Browns’ receivers have to catch the ball on crucial downs. It really is that simple.
In thirteen days, new owner Jimmy Haslam takes over the Browns. Coach Pat Shurmur and his staff must show him something this week to have any shot at staying aboard the ever changing Cleveland Browns train. Shurmur, who has won 4 out of 16 career opportunities, is hanging off of the caboose by a thread. Going in to New York, and beating the world champions would buy him another week or two. For that to happen, he must have his team focused and playing with a little chip on their shoulders. The Browns must find a way to win this game.
Ryan Ruiz – Cleveland Browns Writer
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