Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Browns vs. Jets – Week 10

The Browns go for their third win in a row over a team with a winning record – something they haven’t done since 1989 – at home on Sunday vs. the Jets.

The Opposition

New York Jets: 6-2
Offensive rank: 14th overall/21st passing/4th rushing
Defensive rank: 4th overall/16th passing/4th rushing
All-time record: Browns lead 12-7 (including playoffs), with a 9-5 mark at home. The Browns have won four out of the last five overall against the Jets
The line: Browns +3

What to Watch For

The Browns have been making steady and discernible, progress this season, culminating in last week’s win over New England, a true team win and the best example yet of what Browns Football should look like under coach Eric Mangini.

Sunday’s game against the Jets should be another tough – but not insurmountable – test for the team.

The Jets are 4-0 on the road this season and haven’t lost a regular season road game since Week 11 of last year, against New England. That’s a credit to the team’s strong rushing attack, which is fourth in the league at 148 yards per game.

The Jets bring the league’s fourth-ranked defense into the game as they are fourth against the run and 16th against the pass. But looking closer at the defensive numbers in comparison to the Browns starts to give us a path to victory for Cleveland.

As good as New York’s rushing defense is, their numbers are not that much better than the Browns: the Jets give up an average of 3.3 yards per rush, the Browns 3.9; the Jets have given up only three rushing touchdowns this year, but the Browns have only given up one; the Jets do have an edge when it comes to rushing yards, as they are giving up 87.4 yards on average per game, while the Browns are at 105.9.

Eighteen yards may not seem like much of a difference, but that equals about four to five first downs, keeping drives alive and wearing down the opponents defense.

But if the Browns can bring a stout run defense to the game on Sunday that could pave the way to a win because it will force Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez to have to make a play – and that is something the Jets probably want to stay away from.

After not throwing an interception in his first five games, Sanchez has thrown five in the past three games. He’s had to pass more because the Jets have fallen behind and the more the Browns can put the ball in Sanchez’ hands the more chance there is he will make a mistake.

If the Browns defense can confuse Drew Brees and Tom Brady, it’s not a stretch to believe they can have success against a second-year quarterback who hasn’t played well since Week 4.

Offensively, the Browns just need to keep doing what they have been doing: pound Peyton Hillis, take what the defense gives them in the passing game, mix things up a bit and don’t make any mistakes.

If the Jets can shut down the running game, it could be a very long day for the Browns offensively. Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis is reportedly 100 percent healthy and he can probably single cover both Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie by himself.

Oh and hope Colt McCoy doesn’t have a “rookie” game on Sunday.

The Best Browns vs. Jets Game I’ve Ever Seen

This is the easiest one yet: the double overtime playoff win in 1986. The Browns winning the Super Bowl is probably the only thing that will ever top this game. Mark Gastineau’s roughing-the-passer penalty, Brian Brennan drawing a huge pass interference penalty, Webster Slaughter open down the left sideline, Mark Mosley finally ending it; still, to this day, the most amazing Browns game I’ve ever seen.

Read The Plain Dealer‘s game story here. Video is available here.

The Prediction

We really want to pick the Browns this week. They are playing well and, despite some adversity early in the year, the team hasn’t given up. They were rewarded last week when the beat the Patriots and they deserve to be rewarded again this week.

But despite their offensive troubles, the Jets are good, real good, and they are tough on the road. There’s also very little chance they will overlook the Browns this week, not with all the connections between the two teams.

If the Browns were getting four points they would probably be a safe pick this week. But this game as three-point loss written all over it, so we’re going to take the Jets -3.

One thing we are sure of, though, is no matter what, it should be one heck of a game on Sunday.

Record picking the Browns this year: 1-6-1


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