TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 5: New York Giants Vs. Cleveland Browns

Giants
Browns
NFC Championship - New York Giants v San Francisco 49ers
Cleveland Browns v Baltimore Ravens
Quarterback
Winner Eli Manning is among the best fourth-quarter passers in the NFL, but his interception early in the fourth quarter to Philadelphia cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie changed the momentum in the game. Manning is a top leader who can make all the throws, but he will make mistakes from time to time that hurt his team.
The Browns are clearly a team that is deficient in the talent category on the offensive side of the ball, and that impacts rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden. While he is fighting an uphill battle, Weeden is competing hard against significant odds. He has the size and arm strength, but he needs to read defenses better and develop more consistency.
Offense
Winner Victor Cruz is Manning’s go-to guy in the fourth quarter. While he has good talent, it’s his ability to come through in clutch moments that has made him a special player for head coach Tom Coughlin. The Giants are trying to re-establish their running game, but they were held to 57 rushing yards by the Eagles. Ahmad Bradshaw needs to be more consistent.
The Browns don’t have to ask Weeden to do everything. Rookie running back Trent Richardson appears to be a special talent who can break big plays as a runner and a receiver. Greg Little caught four passes in the Week Four loss to the Ravens, but he was targeted on six other passes. He is barely adequate.
Defense
Winner The Giants are rarely going to be out of any game because of the dominance of their pass rush. Jason Pierre-Paul leads a unit that is capable of terrorizing a rookie quarterback like Weeden. The Giants are usually very solid tacklers and they will need to be at their best against Richardson.
The Browns are much more effective on the defensive side of the ball than they are on offense. They play with a physical edge and understand the concept of gang tackling. Cornerback Dimitri Patterson had 11 tackles and 2 passes defensed against the Ravens.
Special Teams
The Giants coverage teams will be tested severely in this game by Cribbs. In the past, the Giants have proven themselves up to the task, but Cribbs can make big plays against top-level coverage teams. Despite his miss at the gun against the Eagles, the Giants still are happy with placekicker Lawrence Tynes.
Winner Phil Dawson is one of the best kickers in the league and he is usually at his best in the fourth quarter. Reggie Hodges has a decent but not explosive leg at the punter position. Joshua Cribbs is one of the most explosive return men in football.

The Winner Is

NFC Championship - New York Giants v San Francisco 49ers
Winner Giants
3 out of 4

The Giants are known for their inconsistency when playing low-level or mediocre opponents, and the Browns certainly qualify. However, the Giants are coming off a stinging defeat to the Eagles and they are not going to take the Browns lightly. The Giants lost a home game earlier this season to the Cowboys. Don’t expect them to fail at home again.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 25:  Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants breaks a tackle by Josh Norman #24 of the Washington Redskins in the second half at MetLife Stadium on September 25, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 25:   Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers runs the ball against Everson Griffen #97 and Tom Johnson #92 of the Minnesota Vikings in the 1st half during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Week 4 Tale Of The Tape: New York Giants At Minnesota Vikings

    The Vikings defense has annihilated every opponent so far. Can they do it to the explosive Giants offense this week?

  2. KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 25: Center Mitch Morse #61 of the Kansas City Chiefs prepares to snap the ball to Alex Smith #11 at Arrowhead Stadium during the second quarter of the game against the New York Jets on September 25, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images) PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 25: Quarterback  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers passes against  Bennie Logan #96 of the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on September 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
    Week 4 Tale Of The Tape: Kansas City Chiefs At Pittsburgh Steelers

    The Chiefs and Steelers battle it out in a match-up of AFC playoff contenders.

  3. ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 25:  Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys throws against the Chicago Bears in the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Running back Carlos Hyde #28 of the San Francisco 49ers rushes for a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on September 25, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the 49ers 37-18.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Week 4 Tale Of The Tape: Dallas Cowboys At San Francisco 49ers

    The Cowboys have been rolling with rookie QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott. They look to continue that momentum this week.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Connecticut

CBS Hartford 4 Charity
Win Red Sox Tickets All Season
The Latest UConn News

Listen Live