The Browns have to do many things right to upset the undefeated Giants Monday night in Cleveland Browns Stadium, and right at the top of the list is preventing beefy Brandon Jacobs from running wild.
Jacobs is 10th in the NFL with 380 yards rushing. He is averaging 5.8 yards a carry and already has five carries of 20 yards or more.
The entire Browns offense has had three plays of 20 yards or more - a 24-yard run by Jamal Lewis against the Cowboys, a 23-yard pass play from Derek Anderson to Jerome Harrison against the Steelers and a 20-yard pass from Anderson to Kellen Winslow against the Bengals.
"Brandon Jacobs is a load," said linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, the Browns' leading tackler. "The guy is 6-4. He has the body of a tight end in a running back.
"We have to do a great job of tackling. We have to do a great job of stopping his initial punch. We have to be in the right gaps at the right time. I watched the game (last Sunday against Seattle). If he gets a seam he can go for 50 or 60 yards. We have to make him earn every yard he gets."
Marion Barber rushed for 80 yards on 16 carries against the Browns in the 28-10 season-opening loss to the Cowboys. The run defense has shown improvement against the last three opponents. Steelers running back Willie Parker broke the 100-yard barrier, but he needed 28 carries to gain 105 yards.
Jacobs became the Giants' No. 1 back last year after Tiki Barber retired. Jacobs rushed for 1,009 yards on 202 carries -- a 5.0-yard average -- in 2007. He scored four rushing touchdowns. He has three touchdowns already in 2008. He is averaging 5.2 yards a carry over the last two seasons.
Of course, Jacobs isn't the only worry the Browns defense has. Eli Manning is ranked fifth among NFL quarterbacks -- 15 slots ahead of his brother Peyton and 26 ahead of Anderson. Eli Manning has thrown six touchdown passes and only one interception. He finished as the 25th-rated passer last year -- 21 spots lower than Peyton Manning and eight spots behind Anderson. Eli threw 25 touchdown passes and 20 interceptions in 2007. The 20 picks tied the Bengals' Carson Palmer and the Lions' Jon Kitna for the most in the league.
"He doesn't get all of the headlines that a lot of other quarterbacks get, but Eli is a very efficient quarterback," Browns coach Romeo Crennel said. "He gets rid of the ball, first of all. He doesn't hang onto the football. He sees the pressure coming. He knows where the hots are and he gets the ball out of his hands into the playmakers they have on the team."