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Weather could be added challenge down the stretch

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The Giants could face some unforgiving weather in the coming weeks:

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Just as it was in their victory on Sunday, the weather is likely to be an issue for the Giants – and their opponents - for the remainder of the season.


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Whoever made the Giants' schedule didn't want them getting all warm and comfy. Including their 22-16 triumph against the Chicago Bears in cold and windy MetLife Stadium, each of their final seven games – all to be played in the Northeast – could be played in some kind of inclement weather.

Next up is a game against the 0-11 Browns in Cleveland – where the Giants could get a break, because the forecast calls for a partly sunny day with temperatures in the low 50s.

If the weather takes a turn for the worse, the Giants will be ready.

"I think you just have to go with the game plan," quarterback Eli Manning said today. "We're going to be able to do everything. Just try and have answers for all their defenses. I don't think it affected the play calling the other day. If we get to Sunday and it is bad conditions, you just deal with it from there."

That's what the Giants did two days ago, when strong and unpredictable wind gusts created a wind chill of 35 degrees and made it a challenge to pass, kick and snap the ball.

Kicker Robbie Gould missed two extra point attempts, but he wasn't the only member of the Giants' kicking team to struggle in MetLife's blustery conditions Sunday. Punter Brad Wing and long snapper Zak DeOssie faced their own challenges.

"That was definitely the windiest game in that new stadium," said DeOssie, who has played in MetLife all seven years it has been the Giants' home. "Sometimes we get some gusts over the years like Sunday was, but this was a consistent cross wind that was strong. Gusts were even higher. It was an interesting game to play in."

"I can't remember a day that was that bad," Wing said. "You kind of just enter survival mode. Pregame, you get an idea that it's going to be a long, rough day for kickers, punters and snappers. The wind was very inconsistent and changed a lot. It picked up very heavy in the fourth quarter. Changed pretty much every quarter. In the last quarter, it was directly in our face. We were going toward the tunnel and it was going the other way. There was a lot of changing and it picked up as the game went on. Those are the things that are hard to gauge. When it's continuously changing, it's different every time you step out on the field.

"You just have to go. There's no excuse. We're at the highest level and you have to find ways to perform regardless of the conditions. The best description I can give is survival mode. You're out there and you have to make it work. You realize that what you usually do can't happen. I think the guys did really well adjusting to the weather and performing at a high level."

Wing certainly did. He punted six times and had a 44.5-yard gross average and a 42.5-yard net average. Wing also had a long kick of 55 yards and placed two balls inside the 20.

One of his toughest challenges was fielding DeOssie's 15-yard snaps; the ball floated wherever the wind took it.

"The second to last punt, the thing moved around a good three to four feet," Wing said. "It was insane. Zak snapped it to the right of me thinking the wind would bring it back. It just gusted and it moved the ball a lot. It went from my right all the way to my left. It moved a lot. It caught me by surprise a little bit. The guys did really well adjusting and handling that."

"I felt the gust," DeOssie said. "I knew I was going to snap it a little bit more to the right than I was anticipating. After the ball leaves your hands, there's nothing else you can do. I worry about the ball. Once I snap it, it's done. I'm confident that Brad's athletic enough to make it happen. He's bailed me out of no wind situations in the past."

He might have to again. After visiting Cleveland, the Giants will play the Steelers in Pittsburgh, where Wing played his first NFL season in 2015. They will then play their final two home games against Dallas (on a Sunday night) and Detroit, before ending the season in Philadelphia (on a Thursday night) and Washington. No warm weather cities or domed stadiums on that itinerary.

"The next two weeks, we play in unfavorable places for kickers and punters," Wing said. "I've been lucky enough to play in one of the stadiums a number of times. It's good to get that one under your belt. I think we did pretty well as a punt unit in those conditions. It gives you a good feeling in the future going into games that weather isn't going to be an issue."

"You make it through that game and you feel comfortable with adjusting to the conditions," DeOssie said. "You expect the worst and you have to deal with it. You're not going to lose sleep over it because it is what it is."

*Manning said he will be watching when division rivals and future opponents Dallas and Washington face each other on Thanksgiving Day.

"I'll definitely check it out," Manning said. "It's just depending on when we get our meal going and everything with the family. I'll definitely be tuned in to see what's going on in the division."

Asked if he has a preference, Manning gave a perfectly typical Manning answer" "I'm not cheering or rooting for one team or the other."

*Rookie cornerback Eli Apple has another big game on his mind this week. His alma mater, Ohio State, will host Michigan Saturday.

"I expect a low scoring game and it is going to be a hard-fought game, for sure," Apple said. "The only thing that is kind of scaring me a little bit is that their running back had a really good game, De'Veon Smith, and I know they are going to pull out some trick plays with Jabril (Peppers). They did that last year against us. But that is the one thing, he is kind of like the X-factor. If he is in the game on offense, they need to highlight him, because he can tear up the game."

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