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Jets-Browns: 5 Storylines

Posted Oct 4, 2017

Jets Head to Cleveland with Run Game on Track, Defense on the Rise


Back on the Road
After dropping a pair of contests on the road to start the season, the Jets swept their recent two-game homestand with a throttling of the Dolphins followed by an overtime triumph of the Jaguars. The players have raved about the chemistry inside the locker room and the belief tank is full. Now back on the road, can they make it three in a row against the winless Browns?

“We’re still figuring out who we are and what we can do well and trusting each other from a work ethic standpoint, but we’re close,” said head coach Todd Bowles. “We’re close. We know we’re going to fight. We know we are going to fight through everything together and we’re close to figuring out where we want to be.”

Possible Debut
While Jets rookie safety Jamal Adams has been sensational for the Green & White, the Browns didn’t have their first-round pick on the field in the season’s first quarter. But that could change Sunday as Myles Garrett, the No. 1 overall selection in last April’s Draft, is closing in on a return after recovering from a high ankle sprain. In three seasons at Texas A&M, the explosive pass rusher had 32.5 QB sacks and 48.5 tackles for loss.

“I think we were close this past week. I think we are definitely going to be closer this week, but let’s get through practice and make sure there is no hiccups that way,” said Browns head coach Hue Jackson. “If there isn’t, hopefully we can get him out there this Sunday and ready to play.”

Committee Is Cooking
The Jets carved up the Jaguars last week on the ground, amassing 256 yards on 32 rush attempts. It marked the first time in franchise history that the Green & White averaged at least 8.0 yards per carry with a minimum of 30 carries and had two different players record a run of 60 yards or longer in the same game. Veteran Bilal Powell rushed for a career high 163 yards including a 75-yard score and rookie Elijah McGuire added 93 yards with a 69-yard scamper to pay dirt.

“He approaches the game like a true professional,” Powell said of McGuire, a sixth-round selection from Louisiana Lafayette. “You can’t really even tell that he’s a rookie just by the way he approaches it. He’s just so explosive, so smart and so coachable and you saw that out there today.”


The Jets have the NFL’s seventh-ranked rushing attack and their 4.9 yards per carry average places them third in the league. The Browns have been solid against the run, tied for eighth overall while yielding 87.2 yards a contest.

Steady Improvement
An improved Jets defense will take aim at a rookie quarterback in Week 5. DeShone Kizer, a Toledo, OH native taken in the second round by Cleveland, has completed just 51.4% of his passes with three touchdowns and eight interceptions. He could find the airways turbulent against a unit that limited Jay Cutler and Blake Bortles to a combined passer rating of 56.3 and a 51.3 completion percentage. The Jets are streaking on third down after having held their opposition to just a 18.5 conversion rate at MetLife Stadium.

“There is no sense of me shaking my confidence at all,” Kizer said following the Browns’ 31-7 Week 4 loss to Cincinnati. “You learn from your mistakes. You learn from the good things. You build on them. You do whatever you can to execute the next week.”

The Late Crew
The Jets have received remarkable production from some of the newest faces on their roster. OLB David Bass, S Terrence Brooks and DL Kony Ealy lead the defense with two sacks, two interceptions and five passes defensed respectively. Wideouts Jermaine Kearse and Jeremy Kerely have become Josh McCown’s favorite targets, ranking first and second on the club with 18 and 13 receptions.

 


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