The DEFEND Cleveland Show

Browns vs Jets – Week 16 – Defend Cleveland Preview

Browns vs Jets

Though for most the year we made the argument that the Browns were better than their record and were starting to show real promise, after last week’s failure at home, Bill Parcells’ famous quote of “You are what your record says you are” is ringing pretty loud. Losers of 8 of their last 9 which now includes the last 5 in row, and the waiting for next year line for fans has officially formed. Given the effort offered against the Bears, one could argue it looks like it has for the coaches and players as well.

Enter the J-E-T-S.

The same Jets who have the second worst offense in the league, have lost 5 of their last 7, and find their coach Rex Ryan on the hot seat seemingly needing to win out to have any chance at all of saving his job. Nothing quite like having a Geno Smith starting at the most important position in sports as you fight for your job, and he’s a guy you didn’t even want to draft in the first place who has since then gone on to throw over 2 interceptions for every touchdown and is rated among the 40 starting quarterbacks who qualify, as the very worst among them all.

Yep, what a showdown this aims to be here in Week 16. No playoff hopes for either club, the 4-10 Browns look like they might have already given up and the 6-8 Jets are being led by a coach and QB who most likely won’t be leading them next year.

Who’s up for Browns vs Jets football in late December?

We’re going to need more booze for this one.

 

Matchups to Watch For

– Will the Browns Pass the Ball Effectively? – Last week I pointed out how the Bears were the worst in the NFL against the run and hadn’t gone a game without allowing a 100 yard rusher in 6 weeks. I also said any team playing them who didn’t at least attempt to run the ball 25 times to see what could be gained just aren’t trying hard enough to win. And then the Browns only ran the ball 17 times.

Offensive coordinator Norv Turner was somewhat aggressive this week in interviews ultimately saying they “had a good mix” of run and pass plays last week. Which, considering the Browns averaged running the ball an average of 26 times a game the previous two weeks prior to the Bears game, and yet ended up throwing the ball more than twice as much as running it against said worst team in the NFL at stopping the run, by stating it was a “good mix” is akin to Mr. Turner basically saying, “I know what I’m doing so shut up your face.”

In addition to the very arguable debate as to what constitutes “a good mix”, Turner said something that’s true no matter what, that the Browns “need to throw the ball…if we’re not successful throwing the ball we’re not going to have a lot of production.”

Well, good news! The Jets, unlike the Bears, are pretty good against the run where they rank in the top 10, but against the pass only 6 teams are giving up more yards per game than the Jets and they also are rated as the worst overall in total pass coverage1. Norv did add some justification to why he didn’t run the ball more against Chicage by bluntly declaring, “Anyone who’s seen our (all of our games) before (the Bears game)… I don’t think would sit there and think we should be running the ball more”,  now he sees an opponent in Jersey where no one will likely be questioning after the game why the balance of his attack was pass heavy. Of course if the Browns actually win the game no one asks such things anyway.

Seems pretty simple, right? Even without Jordan Cameron who may miss this one due to a concussion suffered last week, the weather is supposed to be near 60 degrees with only a slight chance of rain late in the afternoon, and I would hope Turner and Campbell, not to mention Josh Gordon, are all looking to be “successful” and “have a lot of production” in the pass game against the Jets.

Watch, Turner will go out and call a bunch of running plays.

– If Haden Can’t Go Will Geno Smith Have a Career Day? – Saying Geno Smith might have a career day against the Browns isn’t saying much. Not just because Geno has really only had a few strong starts in his 14 game career so far, but because without Joe Haden the pass coverage for the Browns might look more hopeless than the Jets. Hell, even with Haden, Ray Horton’s men have been pretty terrible of late, especially in what’s become the notorious 4th quarter blues for Cleveland the last month.

All hope isn’t lost that Geno will end up a quality QB in the league someday, but it sure isn’t looking too promising. And to think people around here wanted to hang the Browns for not finding a better quarterback than Weeden in the offseason when by comparison, Weed’s rookie campaign last year showed more promise than Smith’s has been so far. With 10 TDs to 21 INTs, having been sacked 43 times of which it largely appears Geno has been at fault for a significant amount of that total, and owning the lowest quarterback rating in the league, whether he ends up eventually being a starter in the NFL or not, it’s sure not looking good at the moment.

The really poor play by Smith can be highlighted by the fact that he has had only two games where he’s been turnover free, and it’s also seen in the very low numbers for his wide-outs. In fact, Josh Gordon has only 7 fewer total receiving yards on the year than the four top Jets receivers all have combined (per ESPN). However, if Haden doesn’t overcome his thigh bruise that happened right before the moment in the Bears game where I like so many others exclaimed, “there goes the game”, it’s very doubtful this one against the Jets will end any differently.

Basically this matchup comes down to two teams who have two of the most ineffective and unbalanced offenses in the league, and whoever isn’t the most ineffective this Sunday afternoon… should win. In other words, it’s about to get real ugly at MetLife Stadium.

 

Prediction

I’m now 6-8 for the year with these predictions and much like everyone else with Browns games, I wish it were over already. It’s not though, and so we drudge along. It’s only appropriate this game is in Jersey, and it’s equally as ironic it is also the site of the Super Bowl this year.

The Browns opened up at +1 and the ‘Save Rex Ryan’ hopefuls have pushed it to +2.5. As much as I want to say the Browns will win this one and that they are a better all around team (which I truly believe) and should win this game, it’s actually the fact that this game is in Jersey that I’m calling it a Jets win. The green and white who are mostly referred to as New York’s other team, have, if anything, been quite respectable at home this year; going 5-2 with big wins against the Patriots and Saints. Expecting the Browns to roll up and be victorious with only 1 road win which came way back in Week 3 against the Vikings, seems as unlikely as Rex Ryan being the head coach for the Jets with Geno Smith as his starting quarterback next season.

Okay, maybe the Browns winning this game isn’t anywhere near that unlikely, but let’s just say Rex and Geno aren’t going to lose their jobs this week. That’s for sure.

The New York Jets in unfortunate fashion both win and cover the spread, and drinking among Browns backers nationwide is heavy.

Go Browns.

-Mike James

Listen every Friday to “Defend Cleveland Friday with Mike and Joe”  by clicking here, a weekly hour long Cleveland sports podcast companion to the DC Show that’s the best way to end you week, and the only way to begin your weekend.

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  1. Per ProFootballFocus as usual, which, as usual, I’ll let you know otherwise if necessary. []

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Posted by on Dec 19 2013. Filed under Featured, Show Reports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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