On Sunday, the Cleveland Browns take on the New York Giants for their Week 15 game! Our game analysis and predictions are below.
Colt McCoy & Freddie Kitchens are Back
- As if 2020 wasn’t crazy enough, who would’ve thought that in Week 15 against the New York Giants that the Browns would be facing Colt McCoy as a starting quarterback, with Freddie Kitchens calling plays for him?
- The Giants don’t throw the ball very well to begin with. Although McCoy won his only start two weeks ago against the Seahawks, he was just 13-of-22 for 105 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT. He doesn’t have a big arm and often relies on the short passing game for his success. The Giants also yield a lot of sacks, ranking near the bottom of the league in that category. They’re averaging just 18 points per game, and had just 7 points last week against a lackluster Cardinals defense.
- Cleveland still clearly has issues defensively, no one has tried to hide from that. But when you think of the games Cleveland has lost this year, with the exception of the Raiders game, it’s been about teams they haven’t been able to stop because of their physical play or high-octane offense.
- I see the Giants’ offense being much like how things were against Jacksonville a few weeks ago. Cleveland will have the edge — but they must do a better job finishing the game. As for the return of Freddie Kitchens to playcalling, I don’t think he’s going to have time to insert his own playbook this week — I’m expecting him to simply call Jason Garrett’s offense.
Positional Things to Watch
- Each team has one big injury-related news. For the Browns, that is Chris Hubbard having to start for Wyatt Teller again. It sucks not having Teller (probably for the rest of the regular season), but the group can hold it together. The part you’ll see suffer is the team’s ability to leverage a pulling guard effectively on run plays. However...
- ...I think a lot of that is offset by the fact that James Bradberry, the team’s top cornerback, was a late addition to the reserve/COVID-19 list this week. Their starting nickelback will also miss his second straight game. Our Giants affiliate noted that New York typically plays zone coverage with their cornerbacks, and we saw how Baker Mayfield thrived against that last week. I think Cleveland’s receivers are in for a nice day against the Giants’ secondary, which will be patched together. This is a complete offense that the Browns are starting to build — the run game and the pass game have shown to be reliable. And with only 2 MPH wind expected on game night, it should be great conditions to throw the ball.
- Statistically, the Giants rank 10th in yards allowed in the NFL. They are 7th against the run, and 17th against the pass. They have helped lead the charge in New York’s push to try to make a run at the playoffs, and their defensive line is impressive. That’s why I expect Cleveland to make a point to attack those corners early and often.
- Denzel Ward being back for Cleveland this week is an underrated storyline. He was playing very well prior to his injury and I’m sure is itching to make a big impact this week, perhaps even jumping some out-cutting routes by Colt McCoy. It also allows Kevin Johnson to shift back to the nickel, so the team doesn’t have to utilize M.J. Stewart again. For fans wishing to see a change from Andrew Sendejo, they’ll get their wish this week — he is out, and Sheldrick Redwine will start instead.
- You always hope former players don’t have a big game against you — Jabrill Peppers and Kevin Zeitler will also suit up for this game.
Here are predictions from multiple staff members at DBN.
Chris Pokorny: “This is a big game for the Browns, because a victory pretty much locks up a playoff spot for Cleveland (although not officially). A loss would be a massive gut-punch, but we’ve seen the Browns deliver offensively at a high level against pretty much any team now — and I can’t fathom Colt McCoy and a Giants offense lacking so many weapons having much success against any defense. The only way Cleveland loses this game is if the Giants’ defensive line plays at an insanely high level. I’m not fearing the worst, I’m expecting a solid performance by Cleveland that makes general NFL fans wonder why a Giants game was flexed to Sunday night.” Browns 31, Giants 13
Thomas Moore: “The Browns certainly run the risk of having a letdown against the Giants after an emotional loss to the Ravens on Monday night. But then the news broke that old friend Freddie Kitchens will be calling the offensive plays for the Giants with offensive coordinator Jason Garrett sidelined with COVID-19. The Giants are only averaging 18.3 points per game and as long as the Browns defense can hold up for the first 10-15 plays, the Browns should be fine. Throw in that the Browns will want to show their former coach just how he mismanaged the offense last year - look for Baker Mayfield to get Rashard Higgins involved throughout the game - and the Browns are going open up their two-week run on Broadway (well, North Jersey) with a rollicking win.” Browns 45, Giants 10
Ezweav: “The offense putting up 42 on that reputedly vaunted Ravens’ D shows a good amount of growth and demonstrates the strength of our team (because the defense is smoldering trash). After losing such a nail-biter one would think we ought to be able to cruise versus the Giants.
Then someone told me that Colt McCoy is starting and Freddie Kitchens is calling plays. I know a setup when I see one.” Giants 34, Browns 33
rufio: “The Browns are clicking at just the right time to become The Team No One Wants To Face In The Playoffs™, and they continue looking good against the Giants. The G men are pretty stout against the run, so coach Stefanski will come out of the gate with a lot of play action passes and we’ll see the Browns thrive. Nick Chubb will break a big run late in the game despite being bottled up early.
On the other side of the ball, how is Colt McCoy still in the league? Freddie dials up an interesting trick play or two, but Myles and company feast.” Browns 35, Giants 19
Who do you think will win, Browns fans? Let us know in the comments section below.