Most NFL head coaches prefer to name their starting quarterback for the season, if there’s a battle in camp, ahead of the team’s third preseason game. That means we could have a decision in Cleveland soon after Monday’s second exhibition matchup vs. the New York Giants. Let’s take a closer look at the game as well as Sports Interaction’s NFL Preseason odds.
NY Giants at Cleveland Browns
Point spread: Browns -2
Date: Monday, Aug. 21, 8 p.m. ET
Location: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland
Cleveland Could Win Two Straight
The sad-sack Browns haven’t won back-to-back games – ones that count or not – since midway through the 2014 regular season but have a chance to do so here. Hey, this franchise and its fan base will take any incremental progress they can get!
Cleveland hosted the Giants in Week 12 last year and lost 27-13. Eli Manning had two TD passes to star receiver Odell Beckham Jr., and Jason Pierre-Paul returned a fumble for a touchdown. At the time, it was the Browns’ 15th straight defeat. Their QB that day was Josh McCown, who is now fighting for the starting job of the New York Jets. The Browns have covered just 5 of their past 26 games overall and one of past nine at home. The Giants are 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings.
New York Giants
The Giants opened the preseason with a 20-12 home loss to Pittsburgh last Friday. I read little from that as Manning, WRs Beckham and Sterling Shepard, defensive end Pierre-Paul and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie all sat it out. It’s likely those guys all play this week briefly. Safety Duke Ihenacho pulled a hamstring in the second quarter and did not return. Geno Smith and Josh Johnson are battling to be Manning’s backup, and Smith has the early edge after going 10-for-16 for 114 yards and a TD against the Steelers. Johnson was 5-for-10 for 31 yards.
Dating to his one season in charge of the Oakland Raiders, Cleveland’s Hue Jackson had lost and failed to cover all eight preseason games as a head coach. Those streaks came to an end last Thursday with a 20-14 home victory over New Orleans. Brock Osweiler got the start under center and didn’t do much. Rookie DeShone Kizer, a second-round pick out of Notre Dame, was very impressive in going 11-for-18 for 184 yards and a game-winning, 45-yard touchdown pass on fourth down with 1:52 left. At early practices this week, Jackson has kept the rotation the same. Osweiler got the first reps with the starters, Cody Kessler followed him with the backups and then Kizer then worked with the starters. Jackson said he’d name a starter for the Giants game Wednesday or Thursday.
Meanwhile, the 2017 No. 1 overall pick, defensive end Myles Garrett from Texas A&M, also made his debut vs. the Saints, played 15 snaps with a quarterback pressure and tackle for a loss. He’s an early favourite for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Giants at Browns Predictions
Give the points as Jackson is trying to teach his young team how to win. The Giants don’t care and are on the road.