The New York Jets are flying high after two straight wins at home. This week they’ll be traveling to Cleveland to take on the Browns, a team that has only won a single game in the last two seasons. I take a look at the position comparisons between the two teams.
Josh McCown was okay last week against Jacksonville, throwing for 224 yards, no touchdowns and an interception where the receiver fell down. I expect a better performance this week against a vulnerable Browns defense. There should be no reason why McCown can’t lead the Jets to a win this Sunday. If the Jets keep it up with the play calling that we’ve seen the last 2-3 weeks, then McCown should have no trouble on Sunday.
Deshone Kizer on the other hand has been playing bad football this season. He was oohing and ahhing in the preseason with his throws but when the games matter, he hasn’t stepped up. He has a league leading eight interceptions this season and hasn’t done much to prove the Browns right. This is an easy one, give me McCown in his revenge game.
Running Back: Jets
Bilal Powell has more rushing yards than all of the Browns’ running backs combined. Powell and Elijah McGuire ran with a purpose last week albeit against a Jaguars defense that’s last in rushing defense. Cleveland is better at stopping the run but the way the Jets offensive line is playing, I think they have a good day running the football agains as Matt Forte is out.
The Browns have the more typical running back group. Isaiah Crowell is more of the bruiser while Duke Johnson Jr. can play running back and wide receiver. The Jets linebackers will have their hands full with these two. They both provide a credible threat and are itching to have to a breakout game. It won’t come this week however.
Wide Receivers: Jets
The Jets wide receivers seem to be getting better by the week and developing a real chemistry with Josh McCown. While we would all like to see guys like ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen get on the field, the Jets receiving core has produced very well for all of the preseason talk of having the worst receivers in the league. They can stretch the field while also providing big targets with good hands for McCown.
The Browns are the complete opposite. They have no real deep threat and their leading receiver is their running back Duke Johnson Jr. They have a name in Kenny Britt but in 2017 he’s not striking fear in any secondary, even the Jets. Expect the Jets secondary to have a big day combined with the lack of talent at receiver and going up against a rookie quarterback.
Tight End: Jets
If you have Austin Seferian-Jenkins in any league, start him and start him with confidence. The Browns give up 72 yards per game to tight ends and Seferian-Jenkins looks like he’s ready to have a big game. Each game since his return from suspension, his targets and receptions have increased. Expect that trend to continue Sunday and for ASJ to have a great game.
Offensive Line: Push
The Jets offensive line is better at run blocking than the Browns while the Browns have the better pass protecting offensive line. With that in mind, it’s very difficult to decipher who wins because it all depends on how the game goes. If the Jets get out early and have to run the clock out then they’ll have the advantage. If Cleveland has to air it out, then they’ll have the advantage over the Jets defense. If I had to lean one way based on how I think the game is going to go, I would lean Jets but it’s honestly a toss up.
Defensive Line: Browns
Myles Garrett makes his long awaited debut Sunday against the Jets and while I don’t think he has a monster game, he’s going to have an impact that may not show up in the stats. The Browns generate a good push and can get after the quarterback. The Jets offensive line has struggled in keeping defenders out of the pocket and giving McCown a clean pocket to throw from.
The Jets defensive line is without Kony Ealy, who had a tremendous game last week. Leonard Williams looks like he’s starting to come into his own while Mo Wilkerson is still on vacation. Losing Ealy is huge for this team and without him, I’m giving it to the Browns.
The Jets linebackers have been playing very bad. It’s to the point where we’re expecting them to get beat at some point during the game. Darron Lee and Demario Davis are exactly who we thought they were despite the preseason hype that was somehow generated for both.
The Browns linebackers don’t have much to write home about either. I expect them to get carved up ASJ this week and have a bad game as a group. I just can’t in my right mind put the Jets core over the Browns. Until they show me otherwise, they might be losing this matchup every week.
Todd Bowles is going to draw up exotic packages for Kizer to decipher this week and that plays directly into this secondary’s hands. As a unit, they’ve been playing well lately. They haven’t given up big plays at nearly the rate they did the first two weeks and it shows in the score when the clocks hit zero. Coming off of two straight wins, I expect this group to be a confident bunch and to take chances against a rookie quarterback.
Special Teams: Jets
It won them a game last week. Jeremy Kerley’s punt return set up Chandler Catanzaro’s game winning field goal in overtime. They’ve been playing well. The one thing I will say is that the Jets need to be very careful with Jabrill Peppers. He has the explosiveness to break open a game with a single return. The Jets need to make sure they don’t let him out in space and bottle him up quick.
Hugh Jackson has won a single game since he became head coach of the Browns. That’s all that needs to be said. Todd Bowles has been seemingly getting better each week. He’s looking like an actual NFL coach! Whether it’s the motivating newspaper he put in every guys locker to coaching well in games. He’s moving in the right direction in looking more like the coach of the future for this team.
Photo courtesy of: newyorkjets.com