|Giants have become NFL's road kings|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 09 October 2008 13:39|
With 11 straight wins, 12 if you count last season's Super Bowl victory, the New York Giants are the unofficial kings of the road in the NFL.
On Monday night, they'll try to extend the second-longest road winning streak in league history as they face the Cleveland Browns (1-3), who have dropped their first two homes games in 2008 and can hardly afford to lose another if they have any intention of turning around a season that's slipping away.
n the Super Bowl at Glendale, Ariz.
Road rage indeed.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin doesn't have any expansive theories on his team's string of road success. To Coughlin, it's simply a matter of playing as one.
``I think it's the team, I really do,'' he said. ``It's the team, the belief in each other. There's been many times we've been down. We were down 14-0 in Buffalo and in extreme weather conditions we were able to come back. It's because we have some resiliency. We do have belief in each other. We do have the idea of team. We don't want to let the other guys down. We battle and we hang in there. We stay together. We don't point the finger.
``In so doing, I think that there were a lot of things accomplished along those lines with very good leadership, which we had a year ago and we certainly have now.''
New York's only road trip so far this season was a 41-13 thrashing in Week 2 at St. Louis. That win tied the Giants with Chicago (1940-42), San Francisco (1987-88) and Pittsburgh (2004-05) for the second-longest streak road winning streak history. Only the 49ers, who won 19 straight - 18 regular season, one in the playoffs - have had a longer run on the road.
Browns coach Romeo Crennel has spent the past week praising the Giants, who rank first in several offensive categories and have one of the league's top defenses.
r one all the way across the board,'' Crennel said. ``Probably the best team in the NFL at this point.''
Crennel, once an assistant coach on New York's staff with Coughlin, has been impressed by the Giants' ability to play at an extremely high level on the road, particularly in the postseason where the pressure is intensified and there is no margin for error.
``I know how tough it is to go through the playoffs and have to go on the road in a playoff atmosphere and have to battle the crowd noise and the change of schedule and all those other things,'' he said. ``For them to be able to go on the road in the places that they had to go and win, that was impressive.
``The thing that you saw from them is they wouldn't quit. They just kept playing and they played until the final whistle blew.''
A major disappointment so far this season, the Browns will be hosting their first Monday night game since 2003. They were rewarded for a 10-6 mark in 2007 by getting five prime-time TV appearances from the network honchos who must be hoping Cleveland can turn it around quickly to protect future ratings.
``We've been getting our butts kicked in prime-time games, so we have a lot to prove,'' wide receiver Braylon Edwards said. ``Expectations are down and people don't have any hope, which is fine with us. The same thing happened last year and we proved everyone wrong then, too.''
Pittsburgh last season, the Browns won seven straight and finished 7-1 at home, their best year ever on the shores of Lake Erie. The added splash of playing on Monday night should have Cleveland's dog-mask-wearing fans howling at the harvest moon and the road-tested Giants.
In some ways, the Browns still haven't recovered from a 37-34 exhibition loss to the Giants in August. Although Cleveland's reserves made the score look respectable with a second-half comeback, New York put the game away by scoring 30 unanswered points in the first half amid a startling series Browns mistakes.
Edwards was absolved from any blame in that one. He sat out with a foot injury, and was soon joined on the injured list as the Browns lost five starters to injuries. The confident wide receiver dismissed that Giant beating.
``I can't count that,'' he said. ``No credit taken from them, but that wasn't the Browns.''
Cleveland's chances on Monday will hinge on getting ahead, slowing down the Giants' top-rated rushing attack and minimizing mistakes against a team that pounces on them.
``We were the first home game so they had something that they were trying to establish and trying to prove,'' Crennel said.
On the road, the Giants have already proven enough.