The New York Giants are set to take on the Cleveland Browns this Sunday in pretty much a must-win game for the Giants, so I decided to grab the thoughts of Rant Sports NBA Network Manager Robert Cobb on the game. Cobb is also a Browns writer here at Rant and a loyal fan. Enjoy!
Jeff Shull: Despite being 0-4, the Cleveland Browns have competed well in three of four of those losses. What chance to they have against the defending champs on the road?
Robert Cobb: I give the Browns a 40 percent chance of beating the Giants on the road, due to the fact that they have competed very well. I sense that the Browns are beginning to hit their stride offensively with Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson. Their leading receiver Mohamed Massaqoui will be back, thus giving Weeden his top target.
Greg Little, who has come under heavy criticism for his drops vs the Baltimore Ravens, will play, but is on a short leash. Don’t be surprised to see Josh Cooper, Weeden’s former teammate in Stillwater, on the field as the Browns are thin at wide receiver.
On defense the Browns are improving, most notably Craig Robertson who was a late-round find. He and D’Qwell Jackson are both underrated as they both share the NFL lead (among linebackers) in passes defensed with five, and both have collected two interceptions which is good for second.
JS: Can they slow down Eli Manning and company?
RC: The Browns CAN slow down Eli if they find a way to generate constant pressure, but that is a big if as Cleveland has the sixth fewest sacks in the NFL right now.
JS: If you can pick one thing, what do the Browns need to do above all else to win this game?
RC: Offensive Line: The Browns must improve the right side of the OL if Cleveland has any chance of winning. Weeden has not had the chance to really step into some of his throws because he is facing constant pressure on the strong side. Second-round selection and right tackle Mitchell Schwartz is struggling, and right guard Shawn Lauvao has been terrible and has been getting bullied by opposing defenses which is collapsing the pocket.
JS: Can the Browns protect rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden from the Giants’ ferocious pass rush?
RC: They have to if they want to win, as I stated above, the right side of the line, needs to do a better job of holding its own against the Giants’ “NASCAR” package.
JS: What is your prediction for the game and final score?
RC: The Browns are 0-4, on the road, and have come so close to getting a win but not come through. While these are good reasons to bet on the Giants, Cleveland has recent history on its side of upsetting the defending Super Bowl champions (Giants in ’08, Steelers in ’09, Saints in ’10) With Nicks being out and the Giants at home, they will overlook a very dangerous Cleveland team that finally clicks on offense in a Browns 27-24 upset.