Fennelly: Giants Will Avoid Falling into Trap in Cleveland

The 7-3 Giants are a full seven-point favorite over the 0-11 Cleveland Browns this Sunday, an usual number bestowed upon them by oddsmakers, especially on the road.

New York is 5-4-1 this season against the spread. They have been favored in six of their first ten games, despite coming off consecutive 6-10 seasons and only averaging only 20.4 points per game this year.

Last week, the Giants were seven-point faves over the Chicago Bears and won, 22-16. PK Robbie Gould’s two missed PATs cost Giant bettors a cover.

Giants head coach Ben McAdoo warned us in his weekly address that these young Browns are dangerous. That is true, to an extent. The facts are, they lost those games early on in the season. They haven’t covered a spread since mid-October.

Cleveland has not been a favorite all season and are 2-9 vs the spread on the year. The past three games they were 8, 7.5 and 7 point underdogs and failed to cover all three times. They scored a combined 26 points in those games.

The over/under is set at 44. Seven of the Giants’ ten games have gone under this season, mainly because their offense has underperformed and the defense has overperformed.

Six of the Browns’ eleven games have been over but the last three weeks, they’ve been under. That is mainly due to their offense being held to those 26 points over that period.

Four Giants are in danger of missing Sunday’s game: LG Justin Pugh (knee), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (knee), OL Brett Jones (calf) and OL Marshall Newhouse (knee). The Browns could be without All-Pro tackle Joe Thomas, who is limited this week with a knee ailment.

What’s at stake…..the Giants must win to remain two games behind the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East. Dallas defeated Washington on Thanksgiving to improve to 10-1 on the year. A win would also keep the Giants in the opt wild card spot in the NFC.

Other things to look for…..

The Giants aim for a 6th consecutive win for the first time since 2008 (10/19/08 – 11/30/08) and for a 4th consecutive win in November for the first time since 2008 (11/2/08-11/30/08).

Look to win 6 of 7 games for the rst time since 2008, when the club finished 12-4. With a victory, the Giants will be off to their best start through 11 games (8-3), since 2008, when the club started 10-1.

Look to improve to 3-0 against AFC North opponents while aiming for 5th consecutive game forcing at least 1 interception for the first time since 2014 (9/21/2014-10/19/2014). Since Week 5 the Giants lead the NFL with 10 interceptions.

Aim for a12th consecutive game without allowing a player to rush for 100 yards. Team last allowed 100-yard rusher in Week 16 of the 2015 season vs. Vikings (Adrian Peterson – 104 yards). They are also aiming for 6th consecutive game with at least 2 sacks.

Look to improve to 3-2 on the road this season and aim for 3rd consecutive game with 100+ rush yards.

My pick: Giants 24, Browns 10….the Browns cannot stop the run, and have gotten worse as the season has gone on. The Giants will try to jam Rashad Jennings and Paul Perkins down their throats early and often. From there, the world will be their oyster – play action, passing game, et al.

On defense, the Giants should be able to get pressure on QB Josh McCown and force three-and-outs and turnovers. The Browns surrendered eight sacks to the Steelers and this is the perfect opportunity for the Giants’ pass rush to fatten up.

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