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.

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