Just three weeks left of the NFL season and the playoff picture in the NFC is still very much in flux. Both the Seahawks and the Panthers suffered losses this past week, but which hurts more than the other? In a battle in the blizzard, the Eagles were able to secure a huge win against the Lions, and coupled with a Cowboys loss, Philly is in the driver seat in the NFC East. Speaking of the NFC East, the Giants and the Redskins embarrassed themselves over this past week with blowout losses, while the cross-country Niners are inching closer to becoming the best of the best in the conference. Here are my NFC Power Rankings for week 14...

 1. Seattle Seahawks (11-2): Say what you want about the Seahawks. Yes, they lost to the Niners this past week. Yes, they are still at the top of my list in the NFC. Yes, they are still the BEST team in the NFC right now, and if Seattle can clinch home-field advantage this weekend, the odds of them booking a flight to New Jersey for the Super Bowl are very high. If not for a busted defensive play that setup the Niners in FG range late in the game, Seattle might be singing a different tune, but nonetheless they are still the team to beat in the NFC. Believe me, the Seahawks will learn from this road loss and only get better, because that is the type of team that they are. Ranking last week: 1

2. New Orleans Saints (10-3): It was an equal mix of offense and defense for the Saints on Sunday night as they routed the Panthers and took sole possession of first place in the NFC South. Drew Brees racked up 313 yards through the air with four touchdowns, while the Saints defense led by defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, put a stranglehold on the Panthers offense, giving up just 239 yards and sending Carolina home with their first loss in eight games. Brees became the fifth quarterback to eclipse 50,000 career passing yards and the Saints look unstoppable at home, but it looks like they will be on the road if they make it to the NFC Championship game with Seattle having home-field advantage as the standings are right now. New Orleans will take on the Panthers one more time on the road in week 16, which could be a huge game if the Seahawks falter down the stretch. Rankings last week: 3

 

3. San Francisco 49ers (9-4): A huge win for the Niners at home as they kept their playoff hopes alive in the NFC by handing the Seahawks just their second loss of the season. It looks like the NFC playoffs will run through Seattle, but the Niners are doing everything they can to change that. Frank Gore had another big week, rushing for 110 yards on 17 carries, including a 51-yarder that set the Niners up in FG territory to drive home the game winner with less than a minute left in the fourth quarter. Colin Kaepernick didn't have perfect day, but he didn't have to; San Francisco was able to find a gritty win that was well deserved in my book. This group of guys is starting to look like the team that went to the Super Bowl last year....watch out NFC, the Niners might have your number. Ranking last week: 4

 

4. Carolina Panthers (9-4): An unfamiliar feeling for the Panthers as they were destroyed by the Saints on Sunday night by a final score of 31-13. Cam Newton and the Carolina offense stumbled all game against a stingy Saints defense, with Newton finishing the day with just 160 yards and a single touchdown. The defense has no answer for Drew Brees and the Saints attack, since not many teams do, but the 31 points allowed were the most all season, and a team that allows under 220 yards passing, gave up over 300 to the future Hall of Famer Brees. Can Carolina hang with the big boys in the NFC? A win against the Niners tells me yes, but the demolishing by the Saints, tells me no. Ranking last week: 2

 

5. Philadelphia Eagles (8-5): It was easily the most interesting game of the week due to the snowy weather conditions in Philly, the Eagles came away with a big win against the Lions to give them sole possession of first place in the NFC East. With poor visibility conditions and the field being covered in inches of snow, LeSean McCoy had himself a day running the ball, rushing for a franchise-record 217 yards on 29 carries with two critical touchdowns, one that tied the game and the other that put the Eagles in the lead. Nick Foles threw his first interception of the season after throwing 19 consecutive touchdowns, and the weather was easily to blame for his sloppiness. While neither team expected that much snow, it was the Eagles who were more prepared to deal with the wintery conditions and McCoy running was the only thing pretty about the game. Ranking last week: 6

 

 6. Chicago Bears (7-6): The Bears offense looked unstoppable against the Cowboys on Monday night, which isn't really saying much. Josh McCown had his best game of the season, throwing for 348 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions, while Matt Forte supplied a strong running game, racking up 102 yards on 20 carries in the cold tundra that is Chicago. With the combination of McCown, Forte, Brandon Marshall, and Alshon Jeffrey, this Bears team won't have a problem scoring; it is the defense we have to worry about. Ranking last week: 9

 

 7. Detroit Lions (7-6): The Lions have dealt with their fair share of snow in Detroit, but they were definitely not ready for the weather conditions they faced in Philly. With snow falling fast, the Lions were down even before the game started, as Reggie Bush re-aggravated a calf injury during warm-ups when he slipped on the field; and the day would only get worse for the Lions. While they had the lead with less than a quarter to go, the Lions couldn't find a way to stop LeSean McCoy and by the time the final whistle had blown, the Eagles had blown the doors off the game. It was a tough due for Matthew Stafford and the offense as they had a difficult time finding any momentum with such bad playing conditions. Stafford finished the game with just 148 yards, completing 10-of-25 passing with no touchdowns and no interceptions, but fumbled the ball a whopping FIVE times, coupled with backup Joique Bell's two fumbles; the offense was really fighting themselves for most of the game. Ranking last week: 5

 

8. Arizona Cardinals (8-5):  Carson Palmer picked apart the Rams defense and led his team to their eighth victory of the season, throwing for 269 yards with one touchdown, while completing 84% of his passes. The Cardinals defense, which has been a strong point all season, picked off Clemens twice, returning one for a touchdown, and held the Rams to just a single touchdown until a meaningless TD late in the fourth quarter. I said it a couple of weeks ago, this team is not going to be an easy out, come playoff time. Ranking last week: 8

 

9. Dallas Cowboys (7-6): Everyone knew how bad Dallas' defense is, but are they really THAT terrible? In the Monday night football game against the Bears, the Cowboys defensive unit allowed 490 yards, 45 points and didn't force a punt from Chicago the entire game. While everyone can blame Tony Romo, as they usually do, this one isn't on him; their offense had one heck of a game. The Cowboys find themselves in a tough spot as they are one game behind the NFC East leading Eagles with three games left. Looking at the schedule, games against the Packers and Redskins shouldn't be as difficult as once imagined; which would cue an division title matchup against Philly in the last week of the season. Ranking last week: 7

 

  10. Green Bay Packers (6-6-1): Matt Flynn heard a serious case of the boo-birds raining down from Lambeau Field at halftime as the Packers trailed by double-digits, but found a way to lead his team to victory against the lowly Falcons. Flynn was able to connect with eight different receivers, finishing with 248 yards and went 24-for-32 passing with one touchdown and one interception on the day, while the defense did a good job of holding Matt Ryan and Atlanta scoreless in the second half. Will Aaron Rodgers come back and somehow find a way to get the Pack into the playoffs? If anyone can do it, it's him. Ranking last week: 11

 

  11. New York Giants (5-8): The team that started the season with six straight losses has finally returned. Eli Manning and the Giants couldn't find the endzone until the third quarter, while their defense couldn't put a lid on Philip Rivers and the Chargers offense in a game that was over by halftime with San Diego up 24-0. Do the changes start at the top with GM Jerry Reese? Will Tom Coughlin be around next season? Has DC Perry Fewell and OC Kevin Gilbride sealed their fate? Sounds like it might be a fire-sale for Big Blue in the offseason. Ranking last week: 10

 

12. St. Louis Rams (5-8): Another blowout for the Rams as Kellen Clemens two interceptions (one returned for a TD) and 25 yards on 14 carries by Zac Stacy was about the only offensive contribution by St. Louis in their loss against Arizona. Questions exists on both sides of the ball, and even with Sam Bradford healthy behind center, this team needs some more weapons. Ranking last week: 12

 

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9): Mike Glennon and the Buccaneers only needed 90 yards through the air to seal a victory against the Bills on Sunday. Bobby Rainey had another stellar game on the ground, rushing for 127 yards on 22 carries; and racked up most of the yards on an 80-yard carry on the first drive of the game. The Tampa Bay defense was able to pick off E.J. Manual four times and held Buffalo to just two FG's. Ranking last week: 13

 

 14. Minnesota Vikings (3-9-1): The NFL world held their collective breathe as Adrian Peterson went down holding his leg late in the game, but to the hopes of many, an MRI the next day showed no ligament damage. AP might call it a day (see what I did there) and sit out the next couple of games since the Vikings season is down the drain anyway. Minnesota is another team in the race for the #1 draft pick in the draft and a chance at a top QB could be all but signed as of right now. Ranking last week: 14

 

15. Atlanta Falcons (3-10): The Falcons are poised for a very high draft pick this offseason and tanking the final three games might be useful to them. Their loss to the Packers this past weekend showed faults on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. It is tough to tell how the Falcons will rebuild once all of their players become healthy, while uncertainty definitely exists with the future of Hall-of-Famer Tony Gonzalez.  Ranking last week: 16

 

16. Washington Redskins (3-9): It doesn't get much worse for the Redskins as they were blown out by the Chiefs at home by a final score of 45-10. It is doubtful that head coach Mike Shanahan will be around next season, especially if he is thinking about shutting down RGIII for the remainder of the season. About 25 fans stuck around after halftime, I wonder how many will be around next season. Ranking last week: 15

 

Where do you think these teams rank?

Tags: New York Giants, nfc power rankings, panthers, saints, seahawks

Vacc's 3 keys: Giants-Steelers 00:03:53
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano discusses his 3 keys to a Giants' victory on Sunday vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv:

THE GAME: The Giants (8-3) vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on Sunday, Dec. 4 at 4:25 p.m. ET.

THE WEATHER: Cloudy and chilly, with temperatures in the upper 30s or low 40s. There's a small chance of a little rain, but at least it doesn't appear there'll be much wind.

WHAT IT MEANS: A lot. And a lot of different things. First, the Giants need to win if they have any hope of winning the NFC East. The Cowboys' comeback win in Minnesota on Thursday night made that a longshot for the Giants as it is. If they win, though, they'll remain two back and then if they beat the Cowboys next week they'd be one back with the tie-breaker and three games left to play. A loss in Pittsburgh, though, and the Giants will be three back with four games left and even if they beat the Cowboys next week the division is likely out of reach. The wild card race, though, may be their's to lose if they win in Pittsburgh. If that happens they'd be at least two games up, maybe three, with four to play. That's a virtual lock. But regardless of all that, this is a benchmark game for the Giants. Yes, they've won six in a row, but the competition hasn't exactly been stellar. Their December schedule represents a big step up in class and even though the Steelers have been erratic, beating them in Pittsburgh is the Giants' toughest challenge since their back-to-back trips to (and losses in) Minnesota and Green Bay, right before their winning streak started.

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GEICO SportsNite: Giants 00:01:25
Giants defensive tackle Damon Harrison has been making a huge impact for the Giants much maligned defense.

 (Aaron Doster)
(Aaron Doster)

When the leaves begin to cover the ground here in the East in late November, you can bet the NFL contenders are getting their running games in order. The Steelers are a prime example. Yes, they have an explosive passing game, but they know it's their running game that will propel them towards the postseason.

That running game is led by one of the best backs in the league in Le'Veon Bell, the fourth-year man out of Michigan State who came into this season still rehabbing from MCL/PCL surgery. He missed the first three games of the season due to another drug-related suspension and it's taken him a while to find his footing in this offense that was passing the ball nearly 65 percent of the time the first nine games of the year.

But that's changing as Bell has been heating up of late. The past two weeks, he rushed for 120 and 146 yards against Indianapolis and Cleveland respectively, and added 77 more yards in those games via 12 receptions. He is looking more and more like the weapon the Steelers had back in 2014, when Bell was a first-team All-Pro.

Tags: Damon Harrison
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Landon Collins has been named the NFC's Defensive Player of the Month for November, it was announced Thursday.

He is the first Giants player to win the award since Jason Pierre-Paul in December 2011 and the first safety in Giants history to win the award.

The 22-year-old Collins, who won back-to-back defensive Player of the Week awards earlier this season, had three interceptions, five passes defensed, one sack, and 30 tackles (23 solo) in November.

Tags: Jason Pierre-Paul, Landon Collins
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GEICO SportsNite: Vereen returns 00:01:45
Giants players and coaches react to Shane Vereen practicing with the team for the first time since he was incapacitated with an injury.

GEICO SportsNite: Beckham 00:00:48
Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. speaks about his ability to match up with Steelers stud Antonio Brown.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - It's thumbs up for Odell Beckham. Literally.

The Giants' star wide receiver gave the thumbs up sign when asked how his injured thumb was feeling on Wednesday. He injured it in the Giants' win in Cleveland on Sunday and was briefly forced to leave the game. He did return, though, and finish his six-catch, 96-yard, two-touchdown performance.

He wasn't on the Giants' injury report Wednesday and was able to participate in their light practice. He also said his thumb was "good," though he added that it definitely hurts.

"Every time it hits there," Beckham said. "In the game, I was going down to the ground and I had my hand over the ball. They tried to rip the ball and just ripped straight thumb. It doesn't feel good. I don't think you really notice how much your thumb bumps into stuff or gives out of its movement until you have one that's hurt and you bump it into a table.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr., Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Robert Deutsch)
(Robert Deutsch)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Giants' struggling offense could soon get a boost with the return of running back Shane Vereen.

Vereen returned to practice with the team on Wednesday for the first time since suffering a partial tear of his triceps muscle in Week 3. And he's far enough along in his recovery, according to a team source, that the "hope" is he'll be ready to play in the Giants' showdown with the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 11.

"Man, I wish I knew, honestly," a clearly excited Vereen said after practice. "It's up to the doctors. I am progressing, doing everything that they have me do each and every day, just trying to take baby steps and hope enough of the baby steps will be to getting back on the field."

Vereen has been on injured reserve since his injury, but he will become the Giants' "designated to return" IR player as long as he's added to the active roster some time in the next 21 days. Giants coach Ben McAdoo would not put a timetable on Vereen's return - he said that will be up to the medical staff - but he was clearly excited by the idea.

Tags: Shane Vereen, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

As the "real football" begins this weekend, the Giants are in fantastic position. They still have a shot at winning the NFC East -- especially if they can beat the Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 11 -- and they have a strong hold on at least one of the NFC's two wild-card spots.

With five games to go, though, their lead of two games isn't fully secure -- especially considering how difficult their schedule is down the stretch. Here's a look at the state of the wild-card race, and a look at the division race, too:

Tags: Eli Manning, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Giants released their injury report on Wednesday. The following players were listed...

Did Not Participate in Practice

  • S Nat Berhe (concussion)
  • LB Mark Herzlich (concussion)
  • DE Owa Odighizuwa (knee)

Limited Participation in Practice (Less than 100 percent of a player's normal repetitions)

Tags: Brett Jones, Dwayne Harris, Justin Pugh, Mark Herzlich, Marshall Newhouse, Nat Berhe, Owa Odighizuwa
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New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) celebrates a sack of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. (Ed Mulholland)
New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) celebrates a sack of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. (Ed Mulholland)

Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul has been named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 12, the league announced Wednesday morning

Pierre-Paul recorded three sacks, seven total tackles, three tackles for loss, and had a 43-yard fumble return for a touchdown in New York's 27-13 win over Cleveland on Sunday.

The award marks the fourth time Pierre-Paul has been named the Defensive Player of the Week, putting him third in Giants history behind only Lawrence Taylor (9) and Michael Strahan (5).

Tags: Janoris Jenkins, Jason Pierre-Paul, Landon Collins, Odell Beckham Jr.
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GEICO SportsNite: Giants 00:01:02
Giants quarterback Eli Manning discusses the prospect of facing his draft classmate Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning shakes hands with New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning after a game at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning shakes hands with New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning after a game at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

The New York Giants are getting some help on beating Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers by learning from Eli Manning's champion brother Peyton.

Peyton, a two-time Super Bowl champion who retired after the Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50 in February, visited the Giants' facility on Tuesday, according to ESPN's Jordan Raanan

Eli is facing the Steelers for the fourth time in his career, the first since 2012. Eli is 1-2 in those games, while Peyton, including the playoffs, went 4-1 in his career against the Roethlisberger-led Steelers, including a win in last year's AFC Divisional Game. Peyton threw for 1,250 yards, eight touchdowns and one interception in those matchups.

"He gave some insight," Eli said to Raanan. "Just some stuff that was successful; he's played Pittsburgh a lot over the years. Played 'em last year in the playoffs. So just had a few tips or ideas that may fit into our system."

Tags: Eli Manning, Pittsburgh Steelers
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Seattle Seahawks linebacker Eric Pinkins (47) runs during the first quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland Coliseum. (Kyle Terada)
Seattle Seahawks linebacker Eric Pinkins (47) runs during the first quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland Coliseum. (Kyle Terada)

The Giants have promoted S/LB Eric Pinkins from the practice squad, while RB Orleans Darkwa has been placed on the injured reserve list, the Giants announced Tuesday evening.

Darkwa has been dealing with lower leg soreness, and has not recorded a carry since New York's 23-16 loss to the Packers on Oct. 9. The running back has only appeared on special teams in the last four games. 

On the season, Darkwa has carried the ball 30 times for 111 yards and two touchdowns.

Tags: Orleans Darkwa
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 (Ken Blaze)
(Ken Blaze)

Odell Beckham, Jr. could remain the Giants' punt returner when they face the Steelers this Sunday, head coach Ben McAdoo hinted after Sunday's game.

"We'll take a look at it. We'll talk to him in the game plan meetings this week," McAdoo told reporters. "He's sure-handed back there. He's electric with the ball in his hands."

Bobby Rainey began this past Sunday's win against the Browns as the punt returner, but was replaced by Beckham after fumbling one away in the first half.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr.
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GEICO SportsNite: Giants on FNNY 00:03:49
The Football Night in New York panel discusses Eli Manning?s arm and the Giants' offensive potential moving forward.

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 (Ken Blaze)
(Ken Blaze)

The first three months of the Ben McAdoo Era couldn't have worked out much better for the Giants. They are 8-3, the second-best record in their conference, and well-positioned for their first playoff berth in five years. They are rolling, coming off their sixth straight victory.

Everything is good. Everyone is happy. But the rookie coach still gave his team this warning:

"It's December football," he said on a conference call with reporters on Monday. "This is where the real football begins."

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On this week's Giants Goal Line, SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano discusses another so-so win for the Giants, as well as the Odell Beckham Jr show, as Big Blue survived in Cleveland to beat the Browns and claim their 6th straight win. Plus, Paul Schwartz of the New York Post calls in to chat about whether or not the Giants are better or worse than their record, and whether or not they are serious contenders as the calendar flips to December.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr.
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The Giants' Odell Beckham celebrates after scoring against Clevleeand Sunday.
The Giants' Odell Beckham celebrates after scoring against Clevleeand Sunday.

Odell Beckham Jr. was targeted 11 times and had six catches for 96 yards with two touchdowns during the Giants' 27-13 win over the Browns on Sunday.

Last week against the Bears, he only had five catches for 46 yards on seven targets, leading to concern the Giants weren't using their top playmaker enough.

Beckham had a 32-yard catch-and-run off a slant pass in the second quarter fora score, and a 4-yard TD reception with 5:10 to go as the Giants put the winless Browns away. He had a 41-yard catch before his second TD. 

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr.
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 (Scott Galvin)
(Scott Galvin)

Giants QB Eli Manning threw three touchdown passes Sunday during the Giants' 27-13 win over the Browns in Cleveland.

He completed 15 of 27 passes for 194 yards overall, had zero interceptions and was sacked just once.

Two of Manning's touchdown passes were to Odell Beckham, Jr. -- a 32-yard catch-and-run in the second quarter and a four-yard reception with just over five minutes left in the fourth quarter. 

Tags: Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr.
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New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul celebrates as he runs into the endzone from his touchdown interception against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Scott Galvin/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul celebrates as he runs into the endzone from his touchdown interception against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Scott Galvin/USA Today Sports Images)

Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul recorded three sacks and returned a fumble for a touchdown to help lead the Giants to their sixth straight win with a 27-13 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Tags: Cleveland Browns, Jason Pierre-Paul, Johnathan Hankins, Kerry Wynn, Olivier Vernon, John Fennelly
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GEICO SportsNite: Giants driving 00:03:28
Marc Malusis and Chris Lopresti discuss the important factors in the Giants' win and how far Big Blue can actually ride this momentum.

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GEICO SportsNite: Giants rolling 00:01:10
Eli Manning, Ben McAdoo, and Jason Pierre-Paul speak following the team's 27-13 victory over the Cleveland Browns.

Eli Manning threw three touchdown passes, two to Odell Beckham, Jr., and Jason Pierre-Paul returned an interception for a score as the Giants defeated the Browns 27-13 Sunday in Cleveland.

Tags: Eli Manning
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New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins breaks up a pass intended for Cleveland Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Scott Galvin/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins breaks up a pass intended for Cleveland Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Scott Galvin/USA Today Sports Images)

New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins trashed Cleveland Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor Sr. on social media after Sunday's 27-13 win.

Tags: Cleveland Browns, Janoris Jenkins
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The Giants' Nat Berhe covers a punt against the Eagles earlier this season. (William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports)
The Giants' Nat Berhe covers a punt against the Eagles earlier this season. (William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports)

Giants safety Nat Berhe left Sunday's Giants victory over the Browns in Cleveland due to a concussion.

Earlier this season, Berhe missed four games recovering from a concussion. When he returned, he told NJ.com that he would not change his hard-hitting style. 

"Is that going to change how I tackle? Probably not," Berhe said. "I've watched the hit and it was just one of those things where it just happened. It is what it is.

Tags: Nat Berhe
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Oct 23, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson on the sideline against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first quarter at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports (David Kohl)
Oct 23, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson on the sideline against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first quarter at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports (David Kohl)

THE GAME: The Giants (7-3) at the Cleveland Browns (0-11) at First Energy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio on Sunday, Nov. 27 at 1 p.m. 

THE WEATHER: Despite some clouds early in the day, the game time weather calls for sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-to-high 40s with a slight wind. 

Tags: Cleveland Browns
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Vacc's 3 Keys: Giants-Browns 00:04:06
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano identifies three keys for a Giants victory on Sunday over the winless Cleveland Browns.
THE GAME: The Giants (7-3) vs. the Cleveland Browns (0-11) at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland on Sunday, Nov. 27 at 1 p.m. ET

THE WEATHER: Not bad, actually. Temperatures in the mid-40s, light winds. Considering it's Cleveland and it's almost December, it could be a heck of a lot worse.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oct 23, 2016; London, United Kingdom; New York Giants center Weston Richburg (70) blocks for quarterback Eli Manning (10) during game 16 of the NFL International Series against the Los Angeles Rams at Twickenham Stadium. The Giants defeated the Rams 17-10. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
Oct 23, 2016; London, United Kingdom; New York Giants center Weston Richburg (70) blocks for quarterback Eli Manning (10) during game 16 of the NFL International Series against the Los Angeles Rams at Twickenham Stadium. The Giants defeated the Rams 17-10. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

John Fennelly, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | | Archive Posts

The Giants are coming off two straight games in which they gained over 100 yards on the ground. This week, they face one of the league's worst run defenses in the Cleveland Browns, who are allowing 144 yards per game and 4.6 yards per carry. They have also surrendered 13 touchdowns on the ground.

The Giants will try to exploit that with a running game that has shown some signs of life the past few weeks. Pro Football Focus has suggested that fantasy football owners consider inserting RB Rashad Jennings in their lineups this Sunday.

Tags: Cleveland Browns
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Cleveland Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor makes a touchdown reception against the Dallas Cowboys during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Scott Galvin/USA Today Sports Images)
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor makes a touchdown reception against the Dallas Cowboys during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Scott Galvin/USA Today Sports Images)

The New York Giants defense will have its hands full with Cleveland Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor Sr., a 6-foot-4, 240-pound dual threat wide receiver.

Tags: Cleveland Browns, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eli Apple, Janoris Jenkins, Landon Collins, John Fennelly
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GEICO SportsNite: NY Giants 00:01:22
Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and head coach Ben McAdoo discuss the matchup against the Cleveland Browns.

Nov 20, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon (54) hits Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) after a pass for a personal foul during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner - USA TODAY SPORTS)
Nov 20, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon (54) hits Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) after a pass for a personal foul during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner - USA TODAY SPORTS)

Giants DE was fined $18,231 for a roughing the passer penalty he took last week against the Bears, according to SNY.tv's Ralph Vacchiano. 

Tags: Olivier Vernon
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 (Scott Galvin)
(Scott Galvin)

Here's a hypothetical question: What scares you more -- going on the road to play an 11-0 team or going on the road and playing an 0-11 one?

This Sunday, the Giants will visit the 0-11 Cleveland Browns. In the nine decade history of the franchise they have never faced a team that was 0-11 or worse.

The closest they have come was back in 1960 when they hosted the Dallas Cowboys at Yankee Stadium. That game ended in a 31-31 tie and was Dallas' only non-loss in their 0-11-1 inaugural season.

Tags: Eli Manning, John Fennelly
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The Giants released their injury report on Thursday. The following players were listed...

Did Not Participate in Practice

  • LB Brett Jones (calf)
  • OL Justin Pugh (knee)
  • DE Jason Pierre-Paul (knee)
  • OL Marshall Newhouse (knee)

Limited Participation in Practice (Less than 100 percent of a player's normal repetitions)

  • WR Dwayne Harris (wrist)
  • WR Roger Lewis, Jr. (concussion)
  • G Adam Gettis -- (Calf )
  • RB Orleans Darkwa -- (Lower Leg)
Tags: Brett Jones, Dwayne Harris, Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Pugh, Marshall Newhouse
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New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham runs out of bounds after a reception in the third quarter against the Chicago Bears at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham runs out of bounds after a reception in the third quarter against the Chicago Bears at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports Images)

Despite Odell Beckham, Jr. being limited to 238 yards and three touchdowns over the past four weeks, the New York Giants have won each game.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr.
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GEICO SportsNite: OBJ 00:00:57
Odell Beckham Jr. discusses Thanksgiving on the two-year anniversary of "The Catch" against the Cowboys.
Tags: Odell Beckham Jr.

Oct 30, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson watches warmups before a game against the New York Jets at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports)
Oct 30, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson watches warmups before a game against the New York Jets at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports)

When the Giants were seeking their successor to Tom Coughlin this past January, they interviewed a wide array of candidates before hiring their own offensive coordinator, Ben McAdoo, for the job.

One candidate on the list was then-Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, a highly respected football man with a history of success. The Giants wanted to speak to Jackson before another team scooped him up.

That didn't happen. Jackson never made his flight to meet with the Giants. The Cleveland Browns had called to say they wanted to hire him. On his conference call Wednesday with the Giants' beat pool, Jackson was asked what exactly caused him to miss that flight.

Tags: Cleveland Browns
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The Giants released their injury report on Wednesday. The following players were listed...

Did Not Participate in Practice

  • LB Brett Jones (calf)
  • WR Roger Lewis, Jr. (concussion)
  • DE Jason Pierre-Paul (knee)
  • OL Marshall Newhouse (knee)
Tags: Brett Jones, Dwayne Harris, Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Pugh, Marshall Newhouse
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New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo coaches against the Chicago Bears during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo coaches against the Chicago Bears during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

The New York Giants have gone 6-for-11 on fourth downs this season, and the risks rookie head coach Ben McAdoo has taken over the past several games have largely paid off.

Tags: Eli Manning, John Fennelly
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New York Giants offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse (73) against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Timothy T. Ludwig)
New York Giants offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse (73) against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Timothy T. Ludwig)

Giants OL Marshall Newhouse says he partially tore the MCL in his left knee, but he believes he can play on it, according to Zach Braziller of the New York Post.

Newhouse started at left guard for the Giants in Week 11 for the first time in his career, after starting guard Justin Pugh and backup guard Brett Jones were both ruled inactive. 

Newhouse suffered the injury during Sunday's win over Chicago, but only missed one series before returning to the field.

Tags: Bobby Hart, Brett Jones, Justin Pugh, Marshall Newhouse
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GEICO SportsNite: Giants' run 00:01:00
Giants look to continue to improve on both sides of the ball before their Week 12 tilt with the Cleveland Browns.

The Giants may be 7-3 and are possibly headed for a postseason berth, but they are far from a complete team -- sitting at 31st in the NFL in rushing after 11 weeks. Only the Minnesota Vikings are worse, but they have an excuse. They have been without star RB Adrian Peterson all year and are missing several starters on the offensive line. The Giants' excuse? Well, they don't have one.

Yes, the Giants ran for over 100 yards on Sunday for the second straight game, but they could not run the ball in the second half when they needed to. After coming out in the second half and scoring touchdowns on their first two drives, they punted on their next five, which included three three-and-outs. Their other two drives lasted just five plays each. With the weather changing in the Northeast, they have to do better than this.

Tags: Jerell Adams, Justin Pugh, Paul Perkins, Rashad Jennings, Weston Richburg, Will Tye, John Fennelly
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GEICO SportsNite: Giants defense 00:00:33
Landon Collins talks with Ralph Vacchiano after the victory over the Chicago Bears and discusses the improvement in the Giants defense.

Landon Collins recorded six tackles, broke up three passes, and picked up his fifth interception of the season during New York's 22-16 win over the Bears on Sunday.

Collins extended his streak of consecutive games with an interception to four, the team's longest streak since Phillippi Starks recorded a pick in four straight games in 1995.

"He's a baller - straight up," defensive captain Jonathan Casillas said of Collins. "I don't know who's playing better than him in the NFL right now. Call it luck, call it whatever. But he's in the right place at the right time."

Tags: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Janoris Jenkins, Jonathan Casillas, Landon Collins
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New York Giants cornerback Will Allen against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. (Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE)
New York Giants cornerback Will Allen against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. (Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE)

Former New York Giants cornerback Will Allen has pleaded guilty to running a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

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GEICO SportsNite: Big Blue's D 00:03:51
The Football Night in New York panel talks about the Giants' chances of going deep into the playoffs

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 (Robert Deutsch)
(Robert Deutsch)

The Giants are on a roll, having won five straight games to move to 7-3 on the season -- the third best record in the NFC. They are handling adversity, winning tight games, and have put themselves in position for their first playoff berth since 2011.

But is it all really as good as it seems?

Maybe it is, but don't forget that the Giants' winning streak has come against teams with a combined 19-30-1 record -- and none better than 5-5. Three of those games were at home. One was in a neutral site. And despite those advantages they've still only won those five games by a combined 23 points.

Tags: Adam Gettis, Darian Thompson, Eli Manning, Ereck Flowers, Jason Pierre-Paul, Landon Collins, Marshall Newhouse, Nat Berhe, Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, Rashad Jennings, Sterling Shepard, Victor Cruz, Ralph Vacchiano
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On this week's Giants Goal Line, SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano discusses the emerging pass rush for the defense, the emerging star Landon Collins, and the only occasionally emerging running game after Big Blue notched their 5th straight win, 22-16 over the Chicago Bears. Plus, Kim Jones of the NFL Network calls in to chat about Giants GM Jerry Reese, and how much credit he actually deserves for the team's turnaround so far this season.

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New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) throws a pass during warmups before a game against the Chicago Bears at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) throws a pass during warmups before a game against the Chicago Bears at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)

QB Eli Manning completed 21 of 36 passes for 227 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions during New York's 22-16 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

"We've got to keep getting better, so there's still lots of room for improvement," Manning said after the win. "We've got to score more points offensively. But no turnovers today, so that's a positive. It wasn't the most ideal conditions to have a big day offensively, but we ran the ball over 100 yards, threw the ball efficiently enough and had a nice game plan. Guys played smart and played good football."

The Giants' first possession saw the offense drive the ball 78 yards down the field for a touchdown in under six minutes. With New York facing fourth and two from Chicago's 17-yard line, Ben McAdoo took yet another fourth down gamble, and Manning found rookie WR Sterling Shepard for a 15-yard gain. This led to a Rashad Jennings two-yard touchdown run.

Tags: Eli Manning, Rashad Jennings, Sterling Shepard, Victor Cruz, Will Tye
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Wide receivers Sterling Shepard and Odell Beckham, Jr. were solid during the Giants' 22-16 win over the Bears on Sunday.

Shepard had five receptions for 50 yards and one touchdown, which came in the third quarter and was the difference in the game.

Beckham had five receptions for 46 yards while being targeted seven times.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard
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