Browns vs. Giants: 5 questions with GMEN HQ before Week 12

We caught up with Curt Macysyn of GMEN HQ to learn more about the New York Giants before today’s Week 12 matchup against the Cleveland Browns.

Well, it’s that time of week again. Time to gather up the courage to watch the Cleveland Browns try to avoid an 0-12 start.

The New York Giants are in town today, owners of a 7-3 record and in the fight for the playoffs. Must be nice.

To learn more about the Giants before today’s game, we caught up with Curt Macysyn of GMEN HQ to ask a few questions.

1. Are the Giants legitimate Super Bowl contenders this year?

Curt: My initial reaction is no, but never say never. They have many pieces to the puzzle, including a good coaching staff. Ultimately, I think the offensive line will be the Achilles heel for the team in the long run.

The defense has been solid, so if the Giants can protect Manning and establish a running game, then they could be a factor in the NFC playoffs. At that point, you never know.

2. Was the head coaching change the biggest key to the Giants’ success this year, or would Tom Coughlin have had the team playing this well?

Curt: The coaching change has been a positive, but the infusion of Olivier Vernon, Janoris Jenkins and Damon Harrison has had the most impact. All three are playing at a Pro Bowl level. Now if you add the development of Landon Collins in his second year; now you have four Pro Bowlers on the defensive unit, along with Jason Pierre-Paul.

The first three guys were not around last season, and JPP and Collins did not play as well. I think Coughlin would have done just as well, but elevating Ben McAdoo has breathed new life into the franchise.

3. Who is one under-the-radar player Browns fans should be aware of on Sunday?

Curt: I would say Sterling Shepard; the second-round draft pick from Oklahoma is a guy to keep your eye on. At this point in the season, he has been able to establish synergy with Eli Manning. He is a good, solid route runner, and he is sneaky fast. He does remind me of young Victor Cruz because of his ability to shift on a dime.

With the injuries to Victor Cruz, the Giants have been longing for a second option to line up opposite Odell Beckham (see: Rueben Randle). Looks like they finally found one.

4. Do Giants fans view this game as an easy win? Or is it a possible trap game?

Curt: In all honesty, the fan base believes this is a sure win. In the five years I have covered the Giants, this would be the biggest upset I will have covered. We have all gone through miserable seasons (unless you’re the New England Patriots), so everyone has great empathy for what Browns fans are going through. It’s not any fun. But with a four-year playoff drought of our own, business is business.

5. What is your prediction for the game?

Curt: The Giants do not blow out opponents, and they have gotten off to slow starts recently. That being said, it would be nice to put some space between the Giants and their opponent for a change. I don’t believe the Browns will have much offensive success against the Giants defense.

I think the Giants will try to establish a running attack, so they will minimize risk against the Browns. At the end of the day, I just don’t see a path to a Browns victory. Giants 31 Browns 10.

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