No, I didn’t put this match-up on the list because of the war of words earlier in the week between Richardson and Umenyiora. The spotlight is not on candy right here.
When LeSean McCoy punctured the Giants defense for 123 yards last week, most of his damage was done when rushing toward the edges. With the Giants’ defensive ends looking to pressure the quarterback, running lanes are created due to over-penetration.
Richardson’s comments have made it clear that he’s taken notice.
And with Rocky Bernard set to miss this contest, the interior of the line may struggle. The defensive line, from the ends to the tackles, need to maintain their penetration. Fortunately, the Browns are not a prolific passing team and will be without wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, so their concentration can be on Richardson.
Jason Pierre-Paul v. Joe Thomas
The Giants have only sacked opposing quarterbacks eight times this season, ranked in the bottom half of the league.
Top pass-rusher Jason Pierre-Paul has only 1.5 sacks, and today he has the challenge of perennial Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas blocking him.
If JPP can disrupt rookie Brandon Weeden’s rhythm, the Giants can control the game from a defensive standpoint and perhaps spark the D-line going forward. Against upcoming opponents like San Francisco and Washington, a powerful pass rush is an absolute must.
David Baas, Chris Snee v. D’Qwell Jackson
The Giants need to establish the running game eventually, and there is no better opportunity than today. The Browns’ key run-stopper is D’Qwell Jackson, who is second on the team with 26 tackles and leads the way with three sack.
Jackson occupies the middle of the Browns’ linebacking corps, and the G-Men have the most success running up the middle and to the right side. The Giants have six runs of 10 yards or more up the middle or to the right.
Snee and Baas will be responsible for putting a helmet on Jackson, making holes for Ahmad Bradshaw and Andre Brown.