Much has changed since the New York Giants (7-3) and Cleveland Browns (0-11) last met in 2012. It was the beginning of the Giants’ four-year playoff drought, and Tom Coughlin and Ahmad Bradshaw aren’t around these days.
Other things have remained the same. Victor Cruz came up big that day, and he’s still going strong in his seventh season. The Browns were also as winless then (0-5) as they are in 2016. They’re 19-56 and on their fourth head coach since 2012. The next time Ereck Flowers gets beat for a sack or the Giants squander a lead, remember things could be worse. Much worse.
Giants vs. Browns, 10/07/2012
After a shaky start which saw the Browns jump out to 14-0 lead at MetLife Stadium, the Giants rode Bradshaw and Cruz to a decisive 41-27 win. They combined to score four touchdowns and Bradshaw ran wild for a career-high 200 yards on 30 carries.
With Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard in the fold, Cruz is no longer the multiple-touchdown threat he was back then. On the other hand, the Giants running game could be in line for another big outing on Sunday against the Browns second-worst run defense in the league (143.9 yards allowed per game).
The Giants have gone over the century-mark on the ground in back-to-back games, against the Cincinnati Bengals and Chicago Bears. For all the grief Rashad Jennings and the offensive line get, Big Blue is 5-1 this season when they run the ball at least 20 times. Jennings isn’t likely to duplicate Bradshaw’s performance, in part because the Giants don’t commit to the run today the way they did in the past, but 100 yards should be more than enough to leave Cleveland victorious.