New York Giants notes, 10.13.08

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    Here is a little something to help tide you over until our New York Giants kick off tonight against the Cleveland Browns.

    From Chris over at 'Dawgs By Nature,' here are three key matchups tonight.

    1. OFFENSE: RYAN TUCKER VS. JUSTIN TUCK - With starting right tackle Kevin Shaffer set to miss his first game due to a concussion, veteran Ryan Tucker will make his first appearance of the season after having surgery in the offseason. This is somewhat of a risk/reward situation, making it one of the biggest (and most underrated) keys to the Browns' gameplan on offense. A healthy Tucker is considered our third-best offensive lineman, only behind Joe Thomas and Eric Steinbach. So, in a way, the way things went down could actually benefit the Browns.

      On the other hand, talent and experience can only get you so far in your first game back. You never know how much rust a player will have right off the bat, especially when they are going up against one of the league's premiere defensive ends. Containing Tuck will either make or break our chances early on in trying to create a fair balance of running and throwing the football.

    2. DEFENSE: COREY WILLIAMS VS. BRANDON JACOBS - Originally, I didn't want to highlight this as a key defensive matchup, because it would've felt like the only reason I was doing it was to highlight their "trash talk" throughout the week. Things changed though after it was announced that our other starting defensive end, Shaun Smith, was downgraded to doubtful as he still tries to recover from hand surgery.

      Williams has yet to really pay dividends as a top-notch defensive lineman with the Browns. He looks nothing like a Pro Bowler and everything like an average player. Maybe all he needs is to finally get some fire in him. Being a part of the team that held Brandon Jacobs in check last January, Williams has more experience than anybody else on the Browns regarding potential ways to stop the big man. The defense will not only be looking at him to back up his talk, but to act as a team leader for the first time this year.

    3. SPECIAL TEAMS: JOSHUA CRIBBS VS. DOMENIK HIXON - This situation doesn't involve Cribbs on the return; it actually involves Hixon on the return. Hixon torched the Browns for three receiving touchdowns in the preseason, and you get the eerie feeling that he may have our number for whatever reason. Hixon has already had some successful punt returns this season, but with Cribbs being a fantastic gunner, it'll be up to him to contain Hixon throughout the game.
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