Overview: I have no interest in the themes of this game. Yes, I will always root against Braylon Edwards for the rest of time, but it doesn’t matter that he is in Cleveland this week. I root against Braylon every week. There is really no extra emphasis this week. The fact is that Braylon is a talent. The fact is that Braylon could and should be a greater talent. The fact is that the cost / benefit of having Braylon on this roster no longer made sense to Mangini or the rest of us. So now that I have spent too many words telling you about something I really don’t care about…
The Browns are on a nice streak. They get the Jets at home. The only problem is that the Browns are incapable of surprising anyone any more. If any team was tempted to overlook them, they certainly will not now. That doesn’t mean that the Browns can’t win the game, but it could be an even greater test than what they faced a week ago against New England who they surprised from the word “go.”
Airing it Out: I don’t really believe in Mark Sanchez yet. I know how good he can be on occasion, but I just don’t believe he is the best of what he has shown as much as he is the worst of what he has shown. Make no mistake. Sanchez has had some really great performances so far this year. In a three game span against New England, at Miami and at Buffalo Sanchez scored over 100 QB rating. He threw for 8 TDs and 0 INTs in those three weeks.
In the weeks following, Sanchez had QB ratings of 59.9 against Minnesota, 60.1 against Denver, 43.3 against Green Bay and finally a 82.9 last week against Detroit in an overtime win. Sanchez can be good and he has good receivers. Then again, if the Browns confuse him and get pressure on him, they have a real chance to make him lose the game with interceptions.
Running it Down: Who knew that LaDainian Tomlinson had anything left in the tank? I certainly didn’t. He does. He has almost 600 yards rushing with a near 5 yard per carry average. He has a solid offensive line in front of him (which I will get into in the next section) and he seems to be running well. Additionally, Tomlinson has 30 receptions so far this season out of the backfield.
Shonn Greene was held out of practice on Friday, but is listed as probable. Greene is the faster, younger option out of the Jets backfield. He is a nice change of pace back. Ultimately though, it comes down to the offensive line, though.
In the Trenches: As I said before, the Jets have a nice offensive line. Ohio State fans know Nick Mangold well. Flanking him is veteran Damien Woody and D’Brickashaw Ferguson, who sounds more like a UFC fighter than a football player. They are a talented offensive line and the Browns defensive line will have their work cut out for them at the point of attack.
On the other side of the ball, Bart Scott, Calvin Pace and Jason Taylor are a wrecking crew. In front of them Shaun Ellis, and company are a capable crew. The Browns’ recent streak has been led by solid offensive line play for Colt McCoy and Peyton Hillis. They will have their work cut out for them against Rex Ryan’s defense.
Special Teams: Brad Smith is the Jets’ X factor player. He doesn’t have any scores yet on kickoff returns this year, but he is dangerous when he touches the ball. The Browns better stay in their lanes on kickoffs and keep him out of the endzone.
On the opposite side, Josh Cribbs is still lightning that hasn’t been let out of the bottle this year. Still waiting, other than Cribbs’ cross-field lateral pass to Eric Wright.
Prediction: I am now 3-5 picking the Browns games after being wrong in predicting a Browns loss vs the Pats. I said the Browns would lose 24-10. As you know, the Browns won 34-14 in dominant fashion.
This week, the Browns are around 3 point underdogs. The Jets and Pats are now tied for their division lead at 6-2. So, how will this game go for the Browns? I envision a defensive struggle to be honest, and unfortunately, again, I can’t pick the Browns this week either. As always, I hope I am wrong.
The Browns and Jets are going to be tied 14-14 late and Sanchez will do just enough to get the Jets into field goal range where they will get a 50 yard field goal to win 17-14. Specific enough for ya?
The Browns definitely have a chance to win this one. Let’s hope they find a way to do the improbable.