On Saturday, the New York Jets travel to Cleveland to take on the winless Cleveland Browns. This game could be the deciding factor in who gets the top draft pick for the 2018 NFL Draft. It’s also the best chance that the Browns have at winning a game in the near future. Kickoff inside First Energy Stadium is at 1 PM ET.
The New York Jets have won the last 4 games against the Browns including last year in Cleveland. The Jets (2-2) have surprised many so-called experts who thought the team would win maybe one or two games max on the season. As of now, they sit in 2nd place in the AFC East division and have won two straight games. However, both of their wins have come at home and the Jets are currently 0-2 on the road.
The Browns (0-4) are looking to notch their first win on the season. They came close twice so far, but can’t seem to have the higher score once the game clock hits 0:00. Cleveland is hoping that they can play better football, against the Jets, than last week’s disaster against the Bengals.
The spread opened with the Jets getting 1.5 points. For a while, the line sat at a Pick before moving to -1 for the Jets. The Over/Under has remained unchanged at 39.5 points.
The New York Jets are coming into this game on a 2 game winning streak. They destroyed the Dolphins two weeks ago and defeated Jacksonville in overtime last week. Jets quarterback Josh McCown returns to Cleveland after playing there the last two seasons. Unfortunately for Josh, both seasons were cut short due to injuries.
McCown has to love the idea of keeping the Browns winless, as does the rest of his teammates. The Jets could improve this week to 3-2 and, if the Bills lose to the Bengals, then New York could be tied for first place in their division. That’s definitely a shocking premise considering most pundits picked them to finish with the worst record this season. Currently, that record belongs to the Browns, Rams and Giants.
Despite the Browns being winless, they do have a decent defense that’s ranked one spot higher than the Jets in overall yards allowed. Unfortunately, they do allow 26 points per game. Now, Cleveland has lost 3 games to divisional rivals, which means they could be better against teams outside of the division. Their Week 3 tilt saw them lose by 3 points at Indianapolis. So, there is a chance they could upend the Jets this week. However, for my money, I’m going to take the Jets.
New York has looked good offensively the last two weeks as they’ve scored 21.5 ppg, averaging over 400 total yards on offense, and only giving up 14.5 ppg. Last week, they steamrolled the Jaguars on the ground with 256 rushing yards. This week, the Jets might have a tougher time running the ball as the Browns only give up 87 yards on the ground per game. But, I think the Jets can compensate for lack of running lanes with dump offs and swing passes to both Powell and McGuire, which are just as good as running plays.
The Jets defense has picked up their play over the last 2 weeks as they held Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette to less than a 100 yards rushing and they completely shut down Jay Ajayi two weeks ago, allowing only 30 yards to the Dolphins RB. Cleveland averages just 76 rushing yards per game, which will cause a lot of trouble for them this week as the Jets will control the line of scrimmage, shut down the run and get after rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer.
The Jets are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games against Cleveland. The Browns are 2-11-1 ATS in their last 14 games, 3-13-1 ATS in their last 17 home games, and 3-6 ATS in their last 9 October games.
I expect the Jets to force the Browns into becoming just a passing offense as they will shut down the weak Cleveland running game. The Jets have forced 3 turnovers during the last 2 weeks and I expect them to get a few off Kizer this weekend. McCown will keep this Jets offense rolling along and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets break a few big plays this week with Powell or McGuire. I expect the Jets to score late in the 4th quarter and win this game 24-20.