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What to Watch For, Presented by Arby's

Posted Oct 3, 2012

The Cleveland Browns play their second of back-to-back road games this Sunday when they travel to New Jersey for an inter-conference matchup with the New York Giants.

The Cleveland Browns make their first trip to MetLife Stadium in New Jersey for an inter-conference matchup against the New York Giants on Sunday afternoon.

The Browns last played against the Giants in a road game on Sept. 26, 2004. New York beat the Browns, 27-10, and the teams have split the last four games in New York.

The Browns and Giants last met on “Monday Night Football” on Oct. 13, 2008 at Cleveland Browns Stadium. The Browns won, 35-14, over the reigning Super Bowl champions in front of 73,102 fans.

Quarterback Derek Anderson completed 18 of 29 attempts for 310 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Former Browns wide receiver Braylon Edwards caught five passes for a game-high 154 yards with a touchdown. Tight end Darnell Dinkins caught a 22-yard touchdown from Anderson with 2:15 remaining in the first half of the game.

The Browns limited Giants quarterback Eli Manning to 18 of 28 passes for 196 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.

Cleveland took an early lead on Phil Dawson’s 28-yard field goal in the first quarter and came back from a 7-3 deficit to lead, 17-14, at halftime. The Browns scored the final 18 points of the game, capped off by Eric Wright’s 94-yard interception return for a touchdown and a two-point conversion pass from Anderson to Edwards.

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.

As the game unfolds, here are several things to keep an eye on:

Running back Trent Richardson. In four games this season, Richardson has rushed for 222 yards and caught a team-best 15 passes for 122 yards. He is tied with Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III and Redskins running back Alfred Morris for the most points scored (24) by a rookie in the NFL.

Richardson’s 344 yards of total offense rank second behind Morris (372) and his 222 yards rushing are fourth in the league among first-year players. He is second in the NFL in receptions by a rookie and second in team history for the most scrimmage yards by a Browns rookie behind Pro Football Hall of Famer, Bobby Mitchell, who gained 470 in 1958.

Richardson is second among all NFL players (non-kickers) in scoring. Only Houston running back Arian Foster has scored more touchdowns -- five for 30 points -- than Richardson.

With a touchdown Sunday, Richardson would be the first Browns player since Peyton Hillis in 2010 -- and the only rookie in team history -- to score in four consecutive games.

Quarterback Brandon Weeden. For the second time in his first four NFL games, Weeden reached the 300-yard mark when he completed 25 of 52 attempts for 320 yards and one interception in a 23-16 road loss to the Baltimore Ravens last Thursday night.

On the season, Weeden has completed 90 of 167 attempts for 997 yards with three touchdowns and seven interceptions. He has thrown for three touchdowns and three interceptions since the season-opening loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 9.

With a 300-yard game against the Giants, Weeden would join Anderson, Bernie Kosar, Brian Sipe and Pro Football Hall of Famer, the late Otto Graham, as the only quarterbacks in team history to throw for 300 or more yards at least three times in a single season. Anderson (three in 2007) and Graham (three in 1950) each accomplished the feat once, while Kosar (three each in 1986 and 1987) reached the mark twice. Sipe tossed four 300-yard games each in 1979 and 1983 and six in 1980.

A 300-yard game would make Weeden just the third quarterback in team history, along with Sipe and Graham, to throw for 300 yards in consecutive contests. Sipe did so three times in his career one each in 1979, 1980 and 1983, while Graham reached the feat once in 1953.

Kicker Phil Dawson. When Dawson tees up his first kick on Sunday, he will pass former Pro Bowl left tackle and Browns Legend, Doug Dieken, for third on the team’s games played list. Dieken, the Browns’ current radio analyst, lined up in 203 games.

Dawson made all three of his field goal attempts against the Ravens last Thursday and all were from at least 50 yards. He has made four field goals from at least 50 yards this year and leads the league in that category. Since the start of the 2011 season, Dawson has made a league-best 11 of 12 field goals from 50 or more yards.

Dawson kicked seven field goals of at least 50 yards last year, which ranked as the third-most by an NFL kicker in a single season. Only Morten Anderson and Jason Hanson had more 50-yard field goals (eight) in a single season.

Dawson has converted 284 of 340 career field goal attempts with the Browns. His 83.5 field goal percentage is first all-time in team history and the ninth-best total among those kickers with at least 100 career field goals. He has scored 1,186 points in his time with the Browns.

Browns linebacker D’Qwell Jackson. The seven-year veteran has 25 total tackles in 2012 and three of those stops were sacks of Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in a Week Two loss at Cincinnati. Jackson has registered two interceptions, one of which he returned for a 27-yard touchdown in the season-opener against the Eagles.

Jackson is the only player in the NFL with at least two sacks and two interceptions this season. He is tied for sixth in the league with two interceptions and has started 20 straight games for the Browns after missing 26 consecutive in 2009 and 2010.

Wide receiver Joshua Cribbs. The two-time Pro Bowler has 9,178 kickoff return yards, which stands sixth on the NFL’s all-time list. He is 611 yards shy of passing Glyn Milburn (9,788) for fifth on the all-time list.

Cribbs’ 11,019 combined kickoff and punt return yards rank sixth on the NFL’s career list. After passing Cleveland native Desmond Howard earlier in the year, Cribbs now trails former Kansas City Chiefs returner Dante Hall by 1,378 yards.

He has returned an NFL record eight kickoffs for touchdowns and added three more scores on punt returns. The combined 11 touchdowns are fifth all-time and with one more, Cribbs would equal Hall and Metcalf for third place. Cribbs is also 308 yards away from Dennis Northcutt's mark for the most punt return yards (2,149) in franchise history.

The Browns’ pass defense. A top 10 defense against the pass in 2011, the Browns have collected six interceptions and 13 sacks in 2012. They registered four interceptions against Eagles quarterback Michael Vick in the season-opener and had one each against the Bengals and the Ravens.

With three sacks on Sunday, the Browns would tie the 1992 and 2000 teams for the most sacks through the first five games of the season.

Browns offensive linemen Joe Thomas and Alex Mack. Thomas has started and did not miss a snap in each of his first 84 games since the Browns selected him in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft. Mack has started each of the 52 games during his four-year NFL career.

Thomas, Mack, Weeden, D’Qwell Jackson, left guard Jason Pinkston, right guard Shawn Lauvao and right tackle Mitchell Schwartz have played every snap on their respective sides of the ball this season.

Defensive back Sheldon Brown. The 11-year NFL veteran has played in 164 consecutive regular-season games, which ranks fifth among all active defensive players. He has caught at least one interception in each of his 10 previous NFL seasons.

Brown has collected 23 career interceptions and has the fifth-longest active streak of consecutive seasons with an interception. Green Bay’s Charles Woodson (15 seasons), Denver’s Champ Bailey (13), Nate Clements of Cincinnati (11) and Baltimore’s Ed Reed (11) rank ahead of Brown.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning. Manning completed 24 of 42 attempts for 309 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in a loss to the Eagles last Sunday night. Manning spread the ball out to eight different players with Domenik Hixon catching six passes for a game-best 114 yards, including a 41-yarder. Victor Cruz was on the receiving end of nine passes for 109 yards with one touchdown.

On the season, Manning has completed 103 of 160 attempts for 1,320 yards and seven touchdowns against four interceptions. He has been sacked just four times for 32 lost yards and his longest pass of the year was an 80-yard score to Cruz.

Running backs Andre Brown and Ahmad Bradshaw. Brown has a team-best 198 yards and three touchdowns on 38 carries. He averages 5.2 yards per carry and has a long run of 31 yards this year. He has six receptions for 40 yards out of the backfield.

Bradshaw, who missed time with an injury, has gained 133 yards and scored one touchdown on 35 rushing attempts. He has added five receptions for 53 yards this season.

Kick returner David Wilson. After some early fumble issues on offense, Wilson has earned playing time on special teams. He has registered 393 yards on 13 kickoff returns, including a long return of 53 yards against the Eagles last Sunday. He is averaging 30.2 yards per return.

The Browns come into Sunday’s game at 0-4 after their loss to the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium last Thursday. The Giants (2-2) enter the contest on the heels of a 19-17 loss to the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.

CONNECTIONS

Browns linebackers coach Bill Davis served in the same capacity with the Giants in 2004.

Ray Rhodes, the Browns’ senior assistant to the defense, was chosen by the Giants in the 10th round of the 1974 NFL Draft. He played wide receiver (1974-76) and defensive back (1977-80) for the team.

Running backs coach Gary Brown played for the Giants from 1998-99 and was with the team during training camp in 2005 as part of the NFL’s Minority Coaching Fellowship Program.

Browns quarterbacks coach Mark Whipple is a native of Tarrytown, N.Y., and started his coaching career at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y.

Giants offensive lineman Jim Cordle went to The Ohio State University, while linebacker Chase Blackburn and Hixon are University of Akron products. Tight end Adrien Robinson (Cincinnati) went to college in Ohio.

Blackburn (Bellefontaine), Hixon (Columbus/Whitehall-Yearling High School) and Cordle (Lancaster) are Ohio natives.

Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell was Kent State’s wide receivers coach from 1988-91, while running backs coach Jerald Ingram was born in Dayton.

MEDIA

Fans can watch Sunday’s game at 1 p.m. ET on local CBS affiliate WOIO-TV 19. Greg Gumbel will provide the play-by-play, while Canton native Dan Dierdorf (color analysis) will also be on the call.

The game will air nationally on Sports USA Radio Network with Larry Kahn, Ross Tucker and sideline reporter Troy West on the call.

The game is also available along the PNC Bank Browns Radio Network with Jim Donovan (play-by-play), Doug Dieken (color) and Jamir Howerton (sideline reporter) on the call.

What to Watch For is brought to you by Arby’s -- Arby’s Value Menu starting at one dollar will have you coming back for more without emptying your wallet.

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