Giants' sixth straight win not an overly impressive one

Waddle concerned Giants are too one-dimensional (0:51)

Despite winning six straight games, Tom Waddle is worried about the Giants long-term aspirations because of the team's lack of a running game. (0:51)

CLEVELAND -- The New York Giants collected their sixth straight win Sunday. Ho-hum. It came against the Cleveland Browns.

It was exactly what has come to be expected from the Giants: It wasn't overly impressive. They beat a winless Browns team 27-13 at FirstEnergy Stadium without playing anything close to a perfect game.

The Giants (8-3) sputtered on offense for most of the afternoon and were sloppy with the ball while committing a costly turnover on a punt return late in the first half. Nothing about the performance seemed crisp or inspiring. The Browns outgained them in total yards, 343-296.

Despite six straight wins -- the same number they had each of the past two seasons -- linebacker Kelvin Sheppard told the defense that it's not playing good enough.

"That's the mentality it's going to take to get where we need to be," Sheppard explained.

He wasn't alone in the thinking. It was hard to tell in the postgame locker room that this was a team that just won its sixth straight game.

"I don't think we took a step back today but I definitely think we could've taken a bigger step forward," wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said after scoring two touchdowns in the victory.

Sunday in Cleveland was simply a typical Giants game this season. They somehow managed to win, which appears to be a valuable skill unto itself. This team just has a knack for finding ways.

They do it by making big plays on offense -- this week it was Dwayne Harris' 13-yard touchdown catch, Victor Cruz's 37-yard reception and Beckham's two touchdowns -- and making it difficult on defense for the opposition. Beckham finished with six catches for 96 yards.

Sure, the Browns (0-12) helped. They're not very good. That was validated again Sunday, when they dropped their 15th straight game dating back to last season.

Meanwhile, the Giants continue to take care of business. They get after the opposing quarterback (seven sacks on Sunday, including three from Jason Pierre-Paul) and don't allow many points.

But the perpetual questions remain: Is it sustainable? Will the formula work against good teams?

The Giants missed several opportunities for big plays early, didn't run the ball particularly well and had a comedy of special-teams errors, including a muffed punt and a punt return for a touchdown by Beckham negated by a penalty. They also were shut out for the first 22:52 and converted one first down in the third quarter -- against the league's 31st-ranked defense.

Through it all, the Giants just keep winning. And winning. And winning, even if it's by the skin of their teeth.

"It's tough to win in this league, especially on the road. Haven't been on the road in a while. It was nice to get a win. We'll enjoy this one. We'll learn from it. And we have to get better next week."

The Giants allowed the Browns to remain within one score for much of the second half, until defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins hit Browns quarterback Josh McCown and the ball popped into Pierre-Paul's arms for a 43-yard fumble return for a touchdown.

Pierre-Paul had three sacks and the touchdown. Fellow defensive end Olivier Vernon had 1.5 sacks, and now has a sack in four straight games.

There's a lot to like about these Giants, especially on defense. It's been enough to give them six straight wins, a difficult feat in the NFL.

Is it enough? They'll find out over the final five weeks, as all of their upcoming opponents entered Sunday .500 or better. There are no more Bears or Browns on the schedule.

Now it gets serious, with a trip to Pittsburgh on deck.