Browns at Giants -- Oct. 7 -- 1:00 p.m. ET
The Cleveland Browns will travel to the reigning Super Bowl champion New York Giants and it will mark the second time in three seasons in which the team will take on the NFL champions in a road game.
Two seasons ago, the Browns defeated the New Orleans Saints 30-17 in the Louisiana Superdome on Oct. 24, 2010, on the strength of two interception returns for touchdowns from then-Browns linebacker David Bowens.
The Browns have taken on the defending Super Bowl champion in each of the last four years, three during the regular season (Giants in 2008, Pittsburgh in 2009 and Saints in 2010) and one in the preseason (Green Bay in 2011). The Browns earned wins against the reigning champions in each of those seasons.
The streak against defending champions started, ironically, with a 35-14 win against the Giants on Monday Night Football at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Oct. 13, 2008.
In the Monday Night meeting, Browns quarterback Derek Anderson completed 18 of 29 attempts for 310 yards and two touchdowns without an interception, while Giants signal-caller Eli Manning went 18 of 28 for 196 yards with a score and three turnovers.
Running back Jamal Lewis collected 88 yards and scored one touchdown on 21 attempts. Wide receiver Braylon Edwards caught five passes for 154 yards and one touchdown. Former Browns tight end Darnell Dinkins’ only reception of the game went for a 22-yard touchdown.
The Browns converted nine of 13 third-down attempts and outgained the Giants 454 to 373 in total yards.
The October game will be the Browns’ first road meeting with the Giants in the regular season in eight years. The Browns lost that game 27-10 in the now defunct Giants Stadium on Sept. 26, 2004. It will be the team’s first trip to MetLife Stadium, which the Giants and Jets debuted in the 2010 season.
The Giants, went 9-7 in the 2011 regular season, won the NFC East Division on the final day of the regular season and cruised through the Atlanta Falcons in the Wildcard playoffs in January. New York then won road games at the reigning Super Bowl champion Packers and San Francisco 49ers en route to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis. The Giants, for the second time in four years, defeated the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Manning, the Super Bowl XLVI Most Valuable Player, completed 359 of 589 attempts for 4,933 yards and 29 touchdowns against 16 interceptions during the 2011 regular season. He completed 61 percent of his passes and took every offensive snap for the Giants despite being sacked 28 times for 199 lost yards.
Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks were Manning’s favorite targets. Cruz led the Giants in all major receiving categories by collecting 82 receptions for 1,536 yards, 18.7 yards-per-reception and nine touchdowns. Cruz and Manning combined to equal an NFL record with a 99-yard pass last fall. Nicks hauled in 76 passes for 1,192 yards and seven touchdowns.
In addition to Manning, Cruz and Nicks, the Giants also return their top rusher from 2011. Ahmad Bradshaw gained 659 yards and scored nine touchdowns on 171 carries. However, the team lost Brandon Jacobs, who accounted for 571 yards and seven touchdowns on 152 rushes.
While Manning anchored the offense, the defensive line rotation kept the Giants in opposing backfields last fall.
Jason Pierre-Paul registered a Giants-best 16.5 quarterback sacks and finished third on the team with 86 total tackles and 65 solo stops. Fellow defensive linemen Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Mathias Kiwanuka combined for 17.5 sacks last season.
Despite injuries riddling the secondary, the Giants collected 20 interceptions and finished plus-four in that category. Corey Webster led the way with six takeaways in the passing game, while Kenny Phillips and Aaron Ross each had four interceptions.
Browns linebackers coach Bill Davis served in the same capacity with the Giants in 2004.
Cleveland tight end
Giants defensive lineman Shaun Rogers played with the Browns from 2008-10, while offensive lineman Joel Reinders was an undrafted rookie free agent signing of the team after the 2010 NFL Draft.
Giants offensive lineman Jim Cordle went to Ohio State, while linebacker Chase Blackburn and wide receiver Domenik Hixon are University of Akron products. Tight ends Christian Hopkins (The University of Toledo) and Adrien Robinson (Cincinnati) both went to college in Ohio.
Linebacker Greg Jones (Cincinnati/Archbishop Moeller), defensive back Antwaun Molden (Cleveland/Glenville), Blackburn (Bellefontaine), Hixon (Columbus/Whitehall-Yearling High School) and Cordle (Lancaster) are Ohio natives.
The Browns are 26-19-2 all-time against the Giants dating back to the first meeting between the teams, a 6-0 New York win in Cleveland on Oct. 1, 1950. The Browns hold a 12-9-2 record against the Giants in road games.
The Browns are 2-2-0 in their last four road games against the Giants.
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