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Fact or Fiction: Giants in the Pro Bowl?

11-25-jenkins.jpg writers debate how many Giants' defensive players will be selected to the Pro Bowl:

1. The Giants will have at least three defensive players selected to the Pro Bowl.

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JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - The Giants deserve to have three players from their defense make the Pro Bowl. Landon Collins and Janoris Jenkins are no-brainers. Snacks Harrison, anchoring the Giants run defense, should also be a Pro Bowler, in my opinion. Then you have the defensive ends, Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon, who should also be in consideration. Unfortunately, only Landon Collins has the stats people generally look at when picking Pro Bowlers. The Pro Bowl ultimately comes down to a popularity contest, and I'm not sure three of the Giants defenders have earned enough league-wide accord in that regard, even if they deserve it.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact - At this point, safety Landon Collins seems like a gimme as a legitimate candidate for NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He has five interceptions in the last four games to go along with 80 tackles and three sacks on the season. This is what general manager Jerry Reese had in mind when he traded up to draft the Alabama product with the first pick in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. The same goes for when he and the front office signed big-ticket free agents like Janoris Jenkins, Olivier Vernon and Damon Harrison over the offseason. Throw in others like Jason Pierre-Paul and Johnathan Hankins, and you could get to three by the time the Pro Bowl rosters are finalized. Their cases will only grow stronger with the more games they win as a team.

LANCE MEDOW: Fact - I think two members of the secondary will receive their first career invites to the Pro Bowl: safety Landon Collins and cornerback Janoris Jenkins. Collins leads the Giants in tackles and interceptions and is second in sacks, and the rest of the league has clearly taken notice given Collins is usually the one defensive player opposing coaches and players bring up when they are asked about the Giants' strengths. His dramatic improvement from year one to year two has impressed many. Thanks to his strong play against opposing number one receivers, Jenkins' name is becoming synonymous with the label 'lockdown corner.' While his stats may not jump off the page, he leads the Giants and ranks fifth in the NFL with 12 passes defensed. If Collins and Jenkins make the Pro Bowl, the Giants would need either Jason Pierre-Paul or Olivier Vernon to grab a spot on the roster to get to three players, and I think that's more than feasible. Both players are starting to increase their sack totals and have been very stingy against the run.

2. The Giants will have their first 100-yard rusher of the season vs. Cleveland.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact -This should come down to opportunity more so than anything else. I expect the Giants to take a lead early in this game, and to be able to pound the ball against a poor Browns run defense. Rashad Jennings has also earned a stranglehold on the starting job after two impressive games in a row. He'll go over 100 yards on Sunday on more than 20 carries. Ground and pound will be back!

DAN SALOMONE: Fact - The Giants have a long history of running the ball on the Browns. In their last two games against Cleveland, they averaged 212 yards on the ground: 243 at home in 2012 and 181 on the road in 2008. And out of the 50 all-time meetings, including postseason, the Giants have rushed for at least 200 yards 10 times.

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction - The Browns are allowing 144 rushing yards per game, which is the second-most in the NFL but just three running backs have surpassed the century mark against Cleveland: Washington's Matt Jones (Week 4), Cincinnati's Jeremy Hill (Week 7) and Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell (Week 11) and only one in the last five games. Rashad Jennings is trending in the right direction given his rushing total each of the last two weeks (87, 85), but with Paul Perkins' presence and the Browns also struggling to stop the pass (allowing 266 yards per game – 22nd in NFL), I think the Giants will fall just short of having their first 100-yard rusher of the season.

3. Terrelle Pryor is the X-factor in Sunday's game.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - The X-Factor sits on the Giants' side of the ball. The Giants are the better team and if their best players do what they're supposed to do, it won't matter what Terrelle Pryor does. If Eli Manning plays a great game, I don't see any way the Giants lose. It seems simple, but that's it.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact - When you evoke the memory of the late, great Frank Gifford, you're in special company. In Week 3, Pryor became the first player since the Giants legend in 1959 to record at least 120 receiving yards, 30 passing yards and 20 rushing yards in a single game. That's the definition of an X-factor.

LANCE MEDOW: Fact - Terrelle Pryor is by far the Browns' most dangerous weapon because he's a triple threat. He leads the team in receptions (56), receiving yards (724), receiving touchdowns (4) and targets (101). He has also run the ball eight times (for 21 yards and a touchdown) and has thrown it nine times, completing five passes for 41 yards. As a former quarterback, he's clearly a versatile player and the Giants will constantly need to be aware where he is on the field and be well-disciplined in their assignments given Cleveland won't shy away from running trick plays with Pryor. He's had two 100-yard receiving games, and it's no surprise those were two of the Browns' most competitive games this season as they lost to the Dolphins on the road in overtime in Week 3, and fell to the Jets at home by three in Week 8.

4. The NFC is better than the AFC this season.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - But it's close. The Cowboys and Patriots can match each other as the best teams at this point in their respective conferences. The Seahawks and Raiders can do the same. The Giants and Redskins are on the same level as the Broncos and Chiefs. Where the NFC has the advantage is in the Central and South divisions. The AFC South is brutal, and the Falcons are far better than any team in that division. Both the NFC and AFC North have competitive teams that have some stars but haven't put everything together. The edge goes to the NFC.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact - Let's look at the head-to-head: the NFC is 25-22-1 against the AFC this year. The biggest disparity is between the NFC East and AFC North, where the Giants, Cowboys, Redskins and Eagles are a combined 10-1-1 against the Steelers, Ravens, Bengals and Browns.

LANCE MEDOW: Fact - Entering this weekend, both conferences have seven teams with winning records and showcase one deep division (NFC East, AFC West). With that being said, the NFC has the team with the best record in the NFL in the 10-1 Cowboys and a division with all four teams having records of .500 or better (NFC East). The NFC East is also 10-1-1 against the AFC North this season and six of the top ten defenses (total defense) in the NFL belong to the NFC. Aside from the AFC West, where three of the four teams having winning records, there's not nearly as much depth in the three other divisions.

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