Like many households around the country, football and Turkey Day are synonymous in the Victor Cruz's family as he told reporters before the big day.
“I will be tuned in, " noted Cruz. "Well, obviously my Mom, literally my Mom watches more ESPN and SportsCenter more than I do,” the veteran wideout explained. “Anytime I come in the house, it is like plastered on NFL Live. I am like ‘Mom, do you just have this in the background as you clean and cook?’ So, I am sure that tomorrow will be full of all the football that we can take in, without taking naps between food breaks.”
Cruz said he “will be taking mental notes on how these things unfold,” most likely referring to the division game between NFC East rival Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys.
The New York Giants, however, have their own game to worry about Sunday afternoon. They are back on the road, this time heading to Northeast Ohio to face off against the winless, Cleveland Browns. It is obvious to say Big Blue is the favorite to win this one, but for Cruz, he does find these types of matchups challenging.
“I think so, just mentally,” he said. “You want to go in there and put your best foot forward and treat this game as if it is as important as any other game on your schedule. You don’t want to buy into the fact that they are 0-11 or whatever the case may be.”
Cruz, who has only one touchdown on the year, should be licking his chops more than he was for turkey Thursday as he put up four touchdowns on the stat sheet the last time he faced off against the Browns. When asked about that game, No. 80 recalled it immediately.
“Well, first of all, how much fun it was,” he stated. “We had a good time out there, running around, catching some footballs, scoring some touchdowns, but you can’t take much from it…We understood exactly how we wanted to attack this team offensively and we approached that game ready and I think it showed from the amount of touchdowns I score, that we scored, the way we drove up and down the field and you just want to continue that from a mindset perspective going into this well as well.”
The Giants certainly would like to have the same fortunes as their last encounter with the Browns. They would love to keep that winning streak going, and a win before traveling to an always tough Heinz Field in Pittsburgh would be the ideal situation.
Defense has been the reason the Giants have taken these past few games, but this matchup against the struggling Browns may be the feast the offense needs to bring the team full circle. According to Cruz, the key to his unit’s success begins with the master plan.
“I think just understanding what we want to do, understanding the game plan,” Cruz explained. “Once we understand exactly how we want the game plan to work from a coaches’ perspective and the players understand that game plan, I think that is what is going to make this easier as we go on here…”
The Giants will look to keep the Browns in the trenches Sunday, and possibly make it over the 30-point barrier they have come so close to breaking this year. One thing is for sure, though: Cruz will be primed to recreate the magic he had against Cleveland four years ago.