1. The winless Browns hope to continue playing the role of David when they take on this season’s Goliath, the New York Giants, Sunday. The Browns have beaten the past three defending Super Bowl champions they’ve played: the Giants in 2008 (winning 35-14), the Pittsburgh Steelers in ’09 (13-6) and the New Orleans Saints in 2010 (30-17).
2. It probably felt like the longest four weeks of Joe Haden’s life, but the third-year cornerback will be sitting out the final game of his four-game suspension for testing positive during the offseason for the prescription drug Adderall. Haden is always assigned to the opponents’ best wide receiver, and the secondary has struggled in his absence.
3. Injuries continue to mount for the Browns, with the receiving corps the hardest hit during the loss last week to the Baltimore Ravens. It appears as if kick returner/wide receiver Josh Cribbs (concussion) will play, but Mohamed Massaquoi and Travis Benjamin didn’t practiced this week due to hamstring injuries. Safety T.J. Ward returned to practice Thursday with his broken right thumb in a cast.
4. The Giants feature two local talents. Linebacker Chase Blackburn and wide receiver Domenik Hixon are both products of the University of Akron. Blackburn signed with the Giants as a rookie free agent in 2005. Hixon was a fourth-round draft pick in 2006 by the Denver Broncos and was awarded to the Giants off waivers in 2007.
5. The two teams have plenty of coaching connections, including Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron, Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, running backs coach Jerald Ingram and strength and conditioning coach Jerry Palmieri, who worked under Giants coach Tom Coughlin with the Jacksonville Jaguars from 1995-96. Later, Jauron also coached alongside Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell on the 1998 Jaguars staff.