Thursday Night Football road game for Jets in Cleveland
The New York Jets (1-1) will take the field at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland on Thursday night to take on the Browns (0-1-1). Can the Jets avoid being the first team to lose to Cleveland since Christmas Eve 2016?
This years’ Browns so far appear to be a much improved group, and one that could cause problems for the Jets. The Cleveland defense has performed well and kept the team in games. Sure, they have not yet won a game, but consider they went up against two of the NFL’s better offenses.
The Jets offensive line will need to protect rookie QB Sam Darnold. Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams runs an aggressive scheme and the defense is led by their lineman, Myles Garrett (two sacks) and Larry Ogunjobi (three sacks). The two have gotten off to fast and disruptive starts this season. Linebacker Joe Schobert leads the team with 16 tackles, tied for the 16th highest in the league through two games. Cornerback Denzel Ward is tied for the league lead with two interceptions.
Offensively, the Browns had played okay, but not exceptional. Tyrod Taylor is averaging just 222 yards passing per game and earlier this week Cleveland traded wide out Josh Gordon. Taylor has thrown two touchdown passes and two interceptions through the first two games. His QB rating is just 70.1. Is No. 1 draft pick Baker Mayfield breathing down his neck yet?
One area in which the Jets will likely look to take advantage of the Browns is on the line of scrimmage. Taylor has already been sacked ten times, second most in the NFL. If the Jets can shut down the Browns running game and contain Taylor, keeping him in the pocket, they should have success.
Which Darnold will we see?
Rookie QB Sam Darnold has had a bit of an up and down start to his professional career. After throwing for 198 yards and two touchdowns (one interception) in a Week 1 road win, Darnold had a mixed results showing in Week 2. While Darnold did throw for 334 yards and a touchdown, he also threw two interceptions in the loss to Miami.
The Jets seemed to some what abandon the run game in Week 2, forcing Darnold to throw 41 passes as opposed to the 21 attempts made in Week 1.
New York will need a healthy dose of running backs Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell on Thursday in order to keep Garrett and the Browns d-line from teeing off and coming after Darnold. Crowell is averaging 68.5 yards per game while Powell sits at an average of just 33. Crowell is averaging a little over six yards per carry.
Vegas lines have the Jets as a three-point underdog in this matchup. The over/under sits at 41 points.
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