NFL Preseason: New York Giants vs Cleveland Browns
When: 8:00 PM EDT, Monday, August 21, 2017
Where: FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio
Lines: Cleveland -1.5
A little inter-conference Preseason action on Monday evening as the New York Giants tangle with the Cleveland Browns in the 2nd preseason game for both teams. This contest will take place at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. The Giants fell at home to Pittsburgh by a score of 20-12 last week, while the Browns topped the Saints by a score of 20-14 at home.
Who Will Backup Eli Manning?
That is a big question for the Giants as they head into this season. They brought in Geno Smith from the Jets, but he didn’t do much there and could struggle here. He did hit 10 of 16 passes for 114 yards in their 20-12 loss to the Steelers. He has no TDs and one INT. In his career, he has thrown 28 TDs, but also 36 INTs. 3rd round pick Davis Webb is in the mix and he threw for 67 yards on eight of 16 passing, while Josh Johnson was 5/10 for 31 yards. The pickings are really slim at QB and the best that the Giants can hope for is that Eli Manning doesn’t get hurt. If he does then they are in trouble, but at this point, it looks as if Geno Smith will win the backup spot. Even with Manning last year the Giants were 25th in the league in total offense and 26th in scoring, putting up just 19.4 ppg. They have a solid passing game, but really need the ground game to improve after ranking 29th in the league last year. A running game will certainly help the passing game. They don’t have a ton of talent there and they put up just 73 yards on the ground in their loss to the Steelers.
The defense is what led the Giants as they allowed just 17.8 ppg, which was 2nd in the league and this year’s defense looks solid as well. They added DL Devin Taylor from Detroit and 2nd round DT Dalvin Tomlinson and both should contribute right away. Taylor had an INT in the loss to Pittsburgh, while Tomlinson had two tackles and two assists. This defense should again finish in the top 10 in the league. The big battle on defense is between Darian Thompson and Andrew Adams at the safety spot. Adams had nine INTs when he was at UConn, while Thompson had 19 at Boise State. This defense really looks solid and if their offense improves over last year then they will be able to challenge in the NFC East. The loss of Victor Cruz could hurt the passing game though.
DeShone Kizer Has Solid Game Against Saints
The Cleveland Browns have had the worst luck with QBs the last few years, but maybe they have finally hit the jackpot in the draft in DeShone Kizer. He is their 2nd round pick out of Notre Dame and he had a good showing in his first game as he hit 11 of 18 passes for 184 yards and a TD, while throwing no picks. He has been having a good camp overall and could push for the starting spot this year. Brock Osweiler was just six of 14 for 42 yards, while Cody Kessler was five of 10 for just 47 yards. They also added 1st round pick TE David Njoku with their third pick, plus WR Kenny Britt (Rams) and James Wright (Bengals) to help an offense that was 30th in the league in total offense and 31st in the league in scoring last year. This offense should be improved this year, but they still need a running game to help out an improved passing game. In the win over the Saints, they were able to run for just 71 yards, with Isaiah Crowell and Terrence Magee leading the way with just 15 yards.
The defense was also a struggle for the team last year as they ranked 31st in the league in yards allowed and 30th in points allowed, giving up 28.3 ppg. They looked to address the defense with 1st round picks DE Myles Garrett and safety Jabrill Peppers and both should have big impacts for them this year. The defense wasn’t that bad in the opener as they allowed the Saints just 238 yards passing and 82 yards rushing in the win. The Browns have really upgraded their team on both sides of the ball, but they still have a ways to go before they become a playoff contender. Sorting out the QB slot will be the biggest thing for them to figure out and if they do then they could surprise some this year.
New York is:
- None Available
- Favorite is 4-1 ATS the last five games in this series
The Browns have upgraded their team this year, while the Giants should be a playoff contender. Cleveland really needs wins in the preseason to build confidence and I feel they have a big advantage at the backup QB spot as the backups for the Giants are a mess, while the three Cleveland QBs are looking to take the number one QB spot. DeShone Kizer had a big game in the opener and I look for him to have another solid game in this one, especially on Monday night in front of the whole nation. The Giants have the edge on defense, but the Cleveland defense did not play badly in their opener and the Giants still have no running game. Look for the Browns to come up with the plays needed to win this game.
Pick: Cleveland -1.5
The Browns looked decent on offense in their opener, but they still have a long way to go to sustain that, plus they will be taking on a Giant defense that was very good last year. The defense for the Browns is also a work in progress, but they will be taking on a few QBs for the Giants that have no real place in the league. I look for both defenses to step up in this one against a couple of offenses that could struggle this year. The Under is 5-1 in the Browns last six games on grass and 5-0 in their last five home games, plus 17-8 in the Giants’ last 25 games on grass. Take the Under in this one.