Week 16: Updated Browns v. Jets Preview

It may be hard to believe, but your Cleveland Browns are 10-4 and what is even harder to believe is that there are only a couple of games left in the regular season.

The playoffs are so nearly in grasp, and to almost completely confirm a spot is to beat their next upcoming opponent, the 1-13 New York Jets.

Surprisingly, HC Adam Gase and the New York Jets have finally won a football game, shocking the NFL and the 9-5 LA Rams. Somehow, the Jets defense (one of the worse defenses in the league) was able to keep QB Jared Goff and the above-average Rams offense to only three points in the first half and also force Goff to throw a pick. Goff finished 22/34 and threw for 209 yards and two TDs. QB Sam Darnold who has been a disappointment all season, went 22/31, threw for 207 yards and one TD. RB Frank Gore was able to punch in a TD and ran for 59 yards, while Jets K Sam Ficken went a perfect 3/3 on FG attempts that edged New York past Los Angeles to seal the victory.

The Cleveland Browns took on the other New York football team, the Giants, on Sunday night at MetLife Stadium. Former Browns HC Freddie Kitchens took the reigns of OC after Jason Garrett was ruled out with COVID and it was hilariously familiar for Browns fans. The first drive after the Giants marched down to the red zone after a great kick return, the Giants were stopped on four downs and Kitchens and Giants HC Joe Judge ran an insanely bad trick play that involved the punter to attempt a TD pass to the Giants center, that, of course, ended incomplete and a turnover on downs. The Giants defense was still able to stall the Browns offense on a failed fourth & two in the first drive and kept the run game was somewhat non-existent all game.

After getting the ball back, former Browns QB Colt McCoy omaha’d his way to lead the Giants to the red zone where they were once again stopped and the Giants finally settled for a field goal to strike first and went in the lead at the end of the first quarter, 3-0. QB Baker Mayfield and the Browns answered, marched down the field and ended with a short TD pass to TE Austin Hooper. The Giants were able to drive all the way to the five-yard line, but the Browns defense came up big with a fourth & two stop. The Browns took it over and had a great 95-yard drive that was capped off with a diving TD catch by WR Jarvis Landry (out today), but ended very chippy between him and CB Isaac Yiadom, and resulted with a questionable taunting penalty towards Landry. K Cody Parkey hit the right upright on the 48-yard extra point and the Browns went into the half leading 13-3. The Browns in the second half only scored one TD by RB Nick Chubb, who ended with only 50 yards running in the game and the Giants were successful on another field goal in the fourth quarter. Baker ended the game 27/32 and threw for 297 yards and two TDs, and his 92.2 PFF score earned him PFF Offensive Player of the Week. The final score was 20-6 and the Browns moved on to 10-4. With the recent Steelers loss to the Bengals, the door to the AFC North crown is still slightly open.

The Jets have been the laughing stock of the NFL all season long, which is something Browns fans remember what that was like not long ago. An incompetent head coach, a disappointing team and a season that was built to fail so they could tank for a number one pick to build their team around. The recent surprising win against the LA Rams could have put that in jeopardy since the Jacksonville Jaguars currently have the number one draft pick. No team will admit to the tanking process, but us Browns fans can see it from a mile away since we have been through it from 2016-2017. The New York Jets are in dire need of a QB since Sam Darnold has not panned out under Gase, and now that they have a win under their belt; that’s in danger.

The Browns are so close to guaranteeing a playoff game.

They would secure a wild card spot with a win over the Jets and a loss from either the Colts, Ravens or Dolphins (Dolphins won 26-25 over the Raiders). The Browns have been on a roll lately, but the team has recently taken a huge blow. WRs Rashard Higgins, KhaDarel Hodge, Jarvis Landry and Donovan Peoples-Jones, LBs B.J. Goodson and Jacob Phillips have all been placed on the COVID/reserve list. LT Jedrick Wills Jr. was activated from the COVID/reserve list, but now he has been ruled out due to illness. Not the greatest news to break before the game, but the Browns still have the most complete offense in the league and they are going against the second-worst defense in the league. Browns fans can count their lucky stars that we are playing the Jets, but it’s still such a gut-punch that the Browns will be out so many crucial players especially on an important game to inch towards a playoff berth.

The Browns should not worry about this game, just as long as they fire at all cylinders from the start against an inferior team. However, they have to rely on the demise of other AFC teams that are right at the tail of the Browns. As long as the Ravens lose, Cleveland is in the clear. The scenario of playing next week against the Steelers at home for the division crown can be likely by the way the Steelers have been playing and how Pittsburgh has to play against a tough Colts team, so that is the scenario Browns fans are wishing for. But, everything starts with a win against the Jets this week. Tune in this Sunday at 1 p.m. as the Browns take on the Jets!

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