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Jets at Browns | 3 Things to Know for Week 17

QB Joe Flacco Will Start vs. Former Team; WR Amari Cooper Coming Off Season-High Performance


Familiar Face Under Center
The Jets' defense – No. 3 overall and No. 2 against the pass – will line up against a familiar quarterback in Browns' Joe Flacco, who played 12 games for the Green & White from 2020-22. Flacco signed with Cleveland's practice squad in Week 12. He's gone 3-1 in his four starts over the last four weeks and has thrown for 1,307 yards, 10 touchdowns and 7 interceptions while completing 59.4% of his passes.

He's thrown for at least 300 yards in each of the last three games, something he had not done in his 16-year career.

Since Flacco was inserted into the lineup, the Browns have the NFL's No. 1 passing offense, averaging 314.8 yards per game. The Jets, in that same span, have the league's No. 1 pass defense (128.5 yards per game).

"Joe's awesome," HC Robert Saleh said. "You know that we all love and appreciate Joe and always felt very confident when he was on the football field. I have utmost respect for Joe, especially when you look at the last game of the season a year ago at Miami. To step on the field, I know we didn't generate a lot of points, but under the circumstances, which I don't think people truly understand the circumstances of that particular football game, he was outstanding. I've said it before, he's like a Ford pickup truck. You might not like it in the summer, but in the winter months, December, January, that son of a gun starts humming and he's playing some really, really, really, good football."

Jets Secondary vs. Amari Cooper
Jets CBs Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed will line up against a red-hot Amari Cooper. Cooper, a four-time Pro Bowler, had 11 receptions for 265 yards and 2 touchdowns in last week's 36-22 at Houston.

"Amari has been one of the better receivers in football for a very long time and any time you see those numbers, it's going to put your antenna up," Robert Saleh said. "We love our corners and they're going to have their work cut out for him."

Gardner is Pro Football Focus' No. 2 graded corner (min. 80% of snaps) and Reed is No. 9. Gardner, who was not targeted two weeks ago at Miami, leads the league with a 90.2 coverage grade. He's allowed 243 yards this season, the fewest in the league among players who have taken at least 80% of the snaps (the second fewest is Chiefs CB L'Jarius Sneed with 382).

Gardner, the reigning defensive rookie of the year ,allowed 1 reception for 7 yards last week in the Jets' 30-28 win over the Commanders.

Beware of Dawg
The Browns' defense sits atop the NFL, allowing an average of 260.3 yards per game.

That group is led by DE Myles Garrett, whose 13 sacks is tied for No. 7 in the league. Garrett, the No. 1 overall pick in 2017, also leads the team with 26 quarterback hits and 4 forced fumbles. His 16 tackles for loss are second to LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (18).

Owusu-Koramoah is one of four players on the team with at least 2 interceptions. The other three are CBs Denzel Ward, Greg Newsome and Martin Emerson, who leads the team with 4. Emerson and Newsome are tied for the team lead with 12 pass defenses while Ward, a two-time Pro Bowler, has 11.

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