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New York Giants vs. Cleveland Browns – Week 12 O / U

New York Giants(7–3) @ Cleveland Browns(0–11)

  • Where: FirstEnergy Stadium. Cleveland, Ohio
  • When: November 27, 2016 1:00 pm EST
  • Spread: Giants +6.5 (-110) vs. Browns -6.5 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Giants -400 vs. Browns +310
  • Over / Under: Over 44.5 (-110) vs. Under 44.5 (-110)

The New York Football Giants face the Cleveland Browns this Sunday, and to no one’s surprise, the NFL did not decide to flex this game to a later time slot.

The NFL is a business, when it comes down to it, and the Cleveland Browns remind us of this week in and week out. Players show up, do their day job, and a paycheck is later deposited in their bank accounts, but it’s not much more exciting than that for the much-maligned Cleveland Browns.

The Giants, on the other hand, have put together an exciting stretch of games over the last few weeks. Though the surprising Dallas Cowboys are likely to run away with the division (literally), the Giants are poised to make a run for a wild card spot.

While this game may not excite fans of dramatic, high-octane football, there still may be some value for gamblers interested in the matchup. Let’s take a look.

The G-Men Have Put Together Two in a Row

In the 2015/16 season, the Giants’ identity was the team that would hang around in games – primarily because of the play of franchise quarterback Eli Manning and exciting new upstart Odelle Beckham Junior – and yet ultimately lose in the final moments because of their inability to come up with defensive stops when it counted.

In the beginning of this season, despite having spent big money on defensive playmakers in the offseason, it didn’t seem like things had changed all that much.

However, as has been the case for the last few years, the Giants generally go through a Jekyll-and-Hyde transition in the middle of the season, playing much better in the second half than the first. In the last two games, especially, the Giants have taken on the very issues that plagued them last season and come out with two huge wins.

Against the Bengals and the Bears, the opposing team had the ball in the 4th quarter down by less than a touchdown. And in both cases, the Giants’ defense held up well, and their offense was able to grind the ball on the ground and pound out a pair of important wins, taking them from 5-3 to 7-3. After two straight seasons with only 6 wins, the Giants are now one of only three teams in the NFC with 7 or more through 10 games.

Unfortunately, though, one of those other 7+ win teams happens to be in their division. It’s unlikely that the Giants will steal the NFC East from the dominant Dallas Cowboys, and if the G-Men are going to keep pace with other NFC wild card contenders like the Vikings, Lions, Redskins, and Eagles, they are going to have to keep pulling out these close defensive victories and building up an identity.

Cleveland Browns Heading for First Pick in Draft

It has been a good couple of years for Cleveland sports, generally, with the Cavaliers taking an NBA title and the Indians making it all the way to the world series. However, the Browns success has yet to arrive.

Since the franchise was reactivated in 1999 (following the team’s relocation to Baltimore in 1996), the Browns have had only two winning seasons, and have played in only one playoff game. Chief among their woes during this drought has been the inability to find a solid option at quarterback. In the 18 seasons since the reactivation, the Browns have started 19 different quarterbacks.

The current iteration of their painful quarterback situation is a rotating carousel of Cody Kessler, Josh McCown, Robert Griffin III, itinerant backup Charlie Whitehurst, 5th-round draft pick Kevin Hogan, and even a few snaps by college-quarterback-turned-NFL-receiver Terrelle Pryor.

Without going into too many details, each of these quarterbacks has been either benched or injured more than once throughout the course of this season. Most recently, Cody Kessler left a game due to injury for the third time this season after receiving a concussion.

But it’s not just about the quarterbacks that the Browns have drafted; their problems run much deeper than that. Staying on the offensive side of the ball, the 6 players who have thrown passes for the Browns this season have each been sacked at least once, for a total across all QBs of 38 sacks allowed.

For reference, quarterback Andrew Luck has played every offensive snap for the Colts, and tops the list for most sacked quarterback with 35.

So even if Cody Kessler ends up being done for the season, (MRI pending), that may be the least of the Browns’ worries.

Why I’m Taking the Under for Giants-Browns

Quite simply, I see the Giants defense teeing off against the Browns leaky offensive line in this matchup, and continuing their recent surge. While their season totals are low, over the last two games the G-Men have 7 sacks and 2 interceptions, and the Josh McCown-led Browns should give them an opportunity to pad these stats.

There is no reason to suspect that the Browns will be able to move the ball at all, meaning that this game should be completely in the hands of the Giants. To bet on the over is to bet that the Giants will score more 30 points on their own, which seems unlikely on a cold and blustery day in Cleveland.

I predict a low-scoring, ground-and-pound game taken by the New York Football Giants, 23–6, and I recommend that interested parties take the under (44.5) at the Bovada sportsbook.

David HeinenThis article was written by David Heinen

David Heinen is a freelance psychology writer by day, inveterate NFL junkie by night. Born and raised on the Green Bay Packers, David is a die-hard Cheesehead, not to mention a cheese enthusiast in his spare time.

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