It’s a playoff-clinching game for the Browns, that’s why I’m watching. Cleveland hosts the New York Jets on Thursday night at Cleveland Browns Stadium. 8:15 pm EST. The Jets are ranked last in total offense averaging 264 yards, 173 yards passing, 90 yards rushing and 15.4 points per game. They’re ranked third in total defense allowing 295 yards, 169 yards passing, 126 yards rushing and 21 points per game. Cleveland is ranked thirteenth in total offense averaging 336 yards, 217 yards passing, 119 yards rushing and 23 points per game. They’re ranked first in total defense allowing 260 yards, 160 yards passing, 100 yards rushing and 20.7 points per game. What am I watching?
Browns Offense Vs. Jets Defense. Despite the team’s overall record, the Jets field the third-best defense in the league. Their defensive line has defensive tackles Quinnen Williams (3.5 sacks) and Quinton Jefferson (six sacks). Both their defensive ends, John Franklin-Myers (3.5 sacks) and Solomon Thomas (five sacks) can also bring pressure. At linebacker, C.J. Mosley leads the team in tackles with 136 and linebacker Jermaine Johnson has 6.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss.
In the secondary, they’re led by safeties Jordan Whitehead (four interceptions) and Toney Adams and cornerbacks Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed. This is a very good overall defense. The Browns will need to continue doing what they’ve been doing with quarterback Joe Flacco starting. Use the short passing game to set up the run and long downfield passes. The Browns run game has to use more backside runs and heavy packages. The screen game has to improve, the Texans figured it out early and it was never successful. The Browns will need to continue to use the clock and produce long productive drives. No turnovers or stupid penalties.
Browns Defense Vs. Jets Offense. While the Jets defense is good, their offense is bad. Quarterback Trevor Siemian will start again at quarterback. They do have talent at the skill positions. Running backs Breece Hall and Chris Rodriquez, Jr. Hall will start and is a dual threat and Rodriquez comes off the bench in relief. Wide receivers Garrett Wilson and Allen Lizard and tight end Tyler Conklin are the primary targets. Their weakness is the offensive line. Left tackle Mekhi Becton is the best player and he’s not very good. The remaining players, left guard Laken Tomlinson, center Joe Tippmann, right guard Jake Hanson and right tackle Billy Turner are all considered weak links by Pro Football Focus, who considers the Jets O-line the worst in the league. The Browns defensive line will need to continue to be disruptive. Turn pressures into quarterback hits and sacks. While defensive end Myles Garrett hasn’t registered a sack in the last four games, he’s still been able to apply pressure. In the last three games, he’s had 26 pressures and in the last two, nineteen. Cleveland’s linebackers will have to account for Hall and Conklin. The Browns secondary is still number one in the league, so good coverage can produce incompletions, sacks and interceptions. Stop the run and continue to stop opponents on third down.
On offense, the Browns will need to get some kind of running game going to help in the play action, which Flacco has been masterful. On defense, Cleveland will need to continue to apply as much pressure as possible.
With a win Thursday night, the Browns can clinch a playoff spot.