Giants look to bounce back against Browns

LEFT: Daniel Jones #8 of the New York Giants in action against the Arizona Cardinals at MetLife Stadium on December 13, 2020 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Arizona Cardinals defeated the New York Giants 26-7. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) RIGHT

Things were going so well for the New York Giants. Atop the NFC East after a four game winning streak. Heading home for three of the final four games at the Meadowlands. A huge confidence building road win over Seattle. Coach of the Year talk beginning for Joe Judge.

It’s amazing what an ugly loss will do to pop the balloon. After getting stomped by the struggling Arizona Cardinals last week, the Giants are a game behind the Washington Football Team and staring at the playoff contending Cleveland Browns coming to MetLife Stadium Sunday night (8:15, NBC) for a critical Week 15 contest.

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The sports betting information

On Sportsbook, the Browns are four point favorite with a money line of -213. (A $213 bet is needed to win $100.) The Giants are +175 – a $100 bet wins $175. The over/under is 44.

Against the number, the Giants have been one of the better teams around, going 8-5 this season Cleveland, strangely given their record, is 5-8 – one of the worst marks in the league.

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The history

These old rivals in the NFL before the merger, Cleveland leads the series 27-22-2. They haven’t met since 2016, when the Giants earned a 27-13 win thanks to three touchdown passes from Eli Manning. The Giants have won the last two matchups between the two teams.

The storylines to watch

The obvious question is how do the Browns- still ranked fifth in the AFC playoff race and a game ahead of Miami and Baltimore for the final spot- reacts after that epic 47-42 loss to the Ravens on Monday night? There were a ton of positives that Cleveland could take out of that game – namely how Baker Mayfield and the offense reacted in a pressure situation and matched the Ravens punch for punch until running out of time. In this game, expect a steady diet of Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb as they try to soften the middle of the Giants defense that has good against the run.

Meanwhile, one of the main questions heading into this one for New York will be the condition of quarterback Daniel Jones, who came back last week and struggled with a hamstring injury. It didn’t help that the Giants offensive line couldn’t block Hassan Reddick, Arizona’s top pass rusher who had five sacks. If Colt McCoy has to go in place of Jones expect more of a basic offensive set that relies on short passing and the running game. Still, the main matchup will be whether the Giants defense, which has been improving all season long, can hold Mayfield and the Browns rushing attack in check.

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