New York Giants vs. Cleveland Browns Preview and Pick – Monday Night Football

New York Giants (4-0) -9, 43 O/U at Cleveland Browns (1-3) +9, 43 O/
U, Cleveland Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio, 8:30 PM Eastern, Monday

by Badger of

The Cleveland Browns could rescue their season at home in Cleveland
Stadium this week on Monday Night Football, but the task is huge as
they will have to beat the class of the league New York Giants in
prime time to do it.

The Browns finally won a game this season two weeks ago when they
went into AFC North rival Cincinnati and beat the hapless Bengals,
20-12. Although head coach Romeo Crennel and the Browns can be happy
they won going into their bye week, they cant be all that happy with
the way they did it as quarterback Derek Anderson continues to
struggle (only 138 yards passing, 1 TD, 1 INT).

The Giants have picked up where they left off at the end of last season, continuing to play at a championship level in all phases of
the game. The G-Men offense scored at will in their 44-6 whooping of
Seattle at home last Sunday, even without receiver Plaxico Burress.
While the defense held the Seahawks to just 187 yards of total
offense to spark the 4-0 Giants to the top of everyones power
rankings and the top of the NFL.

Oddmakers originally opened the game with the Giants as 7-point
favorites, but quick and early action all over them moved the line up
to 7.5 and 8 points at most offshore sportsbooks. There are even a
few that list the Giants as 9-point favorites already. The over/under
total opened at 43 and has stayed there. Betting the moneyline will
have you laying -340 to take the favorite Giants, while the underdog
Browns are listed at +280.

What should have been a showcase of two of the leagues top offenses
has taken a hit due to the struggles of Anderson and the Browns.

Anderson has twice as many interceptions (6) as touchdowns (3) this
season and has played so bad at times that the Browns and Crennel
have flirted with the idea of getting backup Brady Quinn ready. The
Browns are dead last in the NFL in total offense (210.8 ypg 32nd)
and passing yards per game (123 ypg 32nd), which is why they are
just 31st in a 32-team league in scoring with a meager 11.5 points
per game average.

On the flip side, the Giants offense is a well-oiled machine. Even
without their best weapon in Burress last week, the G-Men just
plugged Domenik Hixon (102 yds., TD) and Sinorice Moss (2 TD) in the
spot and rolled to over 500 yards of total offense anyway. The Giants
are number one in the league in most offensive categories, including
total yards (431 ypg), rushing yards (181.2 ypg) and points scored
(31.8 ppg).

The Browns defensively are solid enough to get some wins, if the
offense would hold up their end of the bargain. Overall they are
middle of the pack (allowing 313 ypg 15th), but they do tend to
give up yards through the air (187 ypg 22nd). They have done a
solid job of holding teams to field goals, as their 19.5 points
allowed average (10th in NFL) indicates.
If the Browns offense has struggled against lesser competition so
far, they might have a bear of a time versus the Giants defensive
unit. The Giants and their blitzing scheme own the NFLs 2nd-best
unit when it comes to passing yards allowed (154 ypg) and points
allowed (12.2 ppg), and 3rd-best in total yards allowed at just 236
yards per game.

These two havent met in a regular season game since the 2004 season,
a 27-10 victory by the Giants at home in the Meadowlands. The Giants
covered as 3.5-point favorites that day, while the game came in just
under the final total of 38. Otherwise, there isnt a whole lot of
recent history between the two teams to judge betting trends upon.

The Giants are 3-1 ATS so far this year, as well as 3-1 versus the
total. Meanwhile, the Browns have a 2-2 ATS record and a 1-3 record
versus the total.

The Giants are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games on grass. The Giants
have also been strong on the road, going 20-7 ATS in their last 27
games away from home. The under is also a strong play when the G-Men
go on the road, cashing in at the window in nine of their last 12 games.

The under is also a strong play in Browns games (with that offense,
of course). The under is 9-1 in Clevelands last 10 games overall.
However, the Browns do like their home cooking, as they are 8-1 ATS
in their last nine at Cleveland Stadium.

Badgers Pick: The Browns NEED this game, bad. So does head coach Romeo Crennel. I still think the Giants win with a late drive and
field goal, but the Browns will cover the number on their home turf.
Take the Browns plus the 9 points.