The New York Giants are the defending Super Bowl champions. The Cleveland Browns are 0-4, once again on track for a disappointing season. One would initially assume this means the matchup between these two today would result in a bloodbath, the Giants obliterating the Browns in such a way it would make the strongest stomach queasy to watch.
One week, Eli Manning will throw so well he gets entered into the “Is he elite?!” discussion, and the next week he’s right back out of it. The defense has been below-average, though the always-dependable defensive line has kept the unit from looking horrid.
But the injuries to Giants wide receivers has given the Browns a very realistic chance to pull off the upset. Without Hakeem Nicks, the Giants are missing their No. 1 receiver, though Victor Cruz is more than capable of handling more responsibility on the field. Ramses Barden, who has played well, is also out today.
Had cornerback Joe Haden been available, this game would look even more favorable for the Browns. But this is still not a hopeless matchup for Cleveland. If the offense finally puts it all together and avoids a slow start, the Browns can win, ending the day at 1-4 but full of hope.
Is this when the season takes an encouraging turn, or a press-the-panic-button-inducing one?