Week 2 - Sep. 18, 2022 | Jets at Browns
First Energy Stadium
State of the Team
For a second consecutive season, the Browns (8-9) finished third in the AFC North in 2021 after they made the playoffs in 2020 (11-5). Cleveland was aggressive in the offseason, trading for three-time Pro Bowl QB Deshaun Watson and four-time Pro Bowl WR Amari Cooper. On the other end, it let go of five-time Pro Bowl WR Jarvis Landry, who signed with the Saints.
Most of the team's nucleus remains intact with one of the NFL's best pass rushers (Myles Garrett), running backs (Nick Chubb) and cornerbacks (Denzel Ward). Chubb finished second in the NFL with 1,259 rushing yards and led the league averaging 5.52 yards per carry among players with at least 200 attempts. Garrett's 16 sacks ranked third in the NFL. The Browns could make a push for the division crown depending on Watson's availability in the 2022 season.
Biggest Offseason Addition
It has to be Watson. The Browns traded three first-round picks, a third-round pick and a fourth-round pick to acquire the No. 12 overall pick in 2017. Watson did not play a game in 2021. He could face league discipline following accusations that resulted in the Texans keeping him off the field last season.
Watson last played in 2020 when he led the NFL with 4,823 passing yards. He had 33 touchdowns and 7 interceptions while completing 70.2% of his passes. He has recorded the highest completion percentage in NFL history (67.8 percent) among all players with at least 1,500 passing attempts. He could miss this Week 2 matchup against the Jets if he's suspended by the NFL.
With the uncertainty of Watson's availability for this game, it's Garrett vs. the Jets' tackles. Garrett, the No. 1 overall pick in 2017, has at least 10 sacks in four of his five NFL seasons, tacking up a career-high 16 sacks and 33 QB hits in 2021. He has 8 sacks in four games against the Green & White, the most against any team in the league.
The Jets' offensive line is in a lot better place than the last time these teams met, in Week 16 of the 2020 season. C Connor McGovern, and tackles George Fant and Mekhi Becton played in that game, but the middle of the line is one of the better duos in Alijah Vera-Tucker and Laken Tomlinson. Fant had a career year under OC Mike LaFleur in 2021 and ranked No. 3 in the NFL in pass-blocking efficiency among tackles who played 50% of the snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. McGovern was also having a career year and ranked No. 8 among centers with a 75.9 offensive grade. While Becton missed almost the entirety of last season, he showed a lot of promise as a rookie in 2020.
Inside the Numbers
|Passing Yards (TDs)||QB Baker Mayfield||3,010 (17)|
|Rushing Yards||RB Nick Chubb||1,259|
|Receiving Yards||WR Jarvis Landry*||570|
|Receiving Touchdowns||TE David Njoku||4|
|Tackles||LB Anthony Walker||113|
|Sacks||DE Myles Garrett||16|
|Interceptions||CB Denzel Ward, S John Johnson||3|
*No longer on roster