|Giants at Browns Point Spread Odds, Trends, Injuries & Matchup|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Monday, 13 October 2008 03:57|
Monday Night Matchup
Two teams that began the season with lofty expectations, but have started in different directions, meet for the first time since 2004 on Monday night in Cleveland.
Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Giants -9 point spread favorites (View NFL Football odds) for Sunday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 82% of bets for this game have been placed on Giants -9 (View NFL Football bet percentages).
Apparently still glowing from its improbable victory Super Bowl last season, New York (4-0) is off to its best start since winning 10 in a row to open the 1990 season. Joining Tennessee as the NFL's only undefeated teams, the Giants have won eight straight contests dating to last season's playoffs and have gone from almost missing the postseason to being regarded as the league's best team in the same calendar year.
"For us, we couldn't care either way, good or bad, we're not trying to get respect here in September going into early October,'' linebacker Antonio Pierce insisted. "For us, it's about getting respect from late December to early January and early February.''
Cleveland (1-3), meanwhile, hopes coming off a bye week will lead to a second straight victory as it tries to bounce back from a disappointing 0-3 start. All the Browns, who went 10-6 and narrowly missed the playoffs last season, need look at the 2007 Giants for inspiration. That squad started 0-2 then won six in a row and never looked back.
"It inspires the entire league,'' Browns linebacker D'Qwell Jackson said. "Everyone talks about it. The way they started and the way they finished gives everybody hope.''
Hope won't be all Cleveland needs for its first win since 1985 over New York, which looks for a fifth consecutive victory over the Browns. The Giants, who most recently won 27-10 over the Browns on Sept. 26, 2004, haven't lost in Cleveland since 1973. New York has won eight straight and 10 of 11 regular-season road games overall.
New York totaled a season-high 523 yards in a 44-6 victory over Seattle on Sunday as Eli Manning went 19-for-25 for 267 yards with two touchdowns, Brandon Jacobs rushed for 136 yards with two scores and reserve receivers Domenik Hixon and Sinorice Moss combined for three touchdowns in the absence of Plaxico Burress.
Burress was suspended one game for missing a team meeting and is expected to be back for this contest.
"Things like that happen and I put it behind me and keep on moving forward and get back to doing what I do - catching footballs and scoring touchdowns - and get back to work," said Burress, the team's leader with 18 catches for 259 yards and a touchdown.
The Giants' lead the NFL in total offense (431.0 yards per game), rushing yards (181.3), yards per carry (5.8), first downs (24.2) and points (31.7). Defensively, New York is second in points allowed per game (12.25), third in total yards (236.0) and second in passing yards allowed (154.0).
"Our objective is to be as good as we can be and that is what we always talk about with our team,'' Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "It is the idea of challenging ourselves to be the very, very best that we can be individually and as a team. And that we all do it to the best of our ability - not let the other guys down.''
Though it's been some time since the Giants and Browns met in the regular season, the teams played a preseason contest Aug. 18 where New York scored 30 unanswered points in the first half. It was a game that left a lasting impression on Cleveland, which had five starters suffer injuries in that game.
"They embarrassed us,'' Cleveland linebacker Andra Davis said. "So that's going to give us a little extra fire.
"It could definitely turn the season around to beat the Super Bowl champs and do it on national television. We'll be ready to go.''
Cleveland, 5-9 in games after a bye, used the off week to get healthy. Linebacker Willie McGinest returns after missing two games with a groin injury, while receiver Donte' Stallworth (quadriceps) is expected to make his regular season debut after signing a seven-year, $35 million free agent contract.
After scoring 26 points through its first three contests, Cleveland won 20-12 at Cincinnati on Sept. 28 in its most recent game. Derek Anderson, who suffered a concussion against the Giants in August, threw a 4-yard TD pass to Braylon Edwards for the receiver's first touchdown of the season. Edwards set a franchise record with 16 TD receptions in 2007.
The Browns are last in the NFL, averaging 210.8 total yards, and second-to-last with 11.5 points per contest.
Cleveland won 35-33 on Dec. 1, 1985, for its most recent victory over the Giants.
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Posted: 10/09/08 10:57pm
Updated: 10/13/08 9:14am