Which Jets team will take the field for its final home game of the 2020 season this afternoon against the Cleveland Browns? The one that lost 13 games, some of them agonizingly close, to open the season? Or the one that a week ago endured its second West Coast road trip in a week and its third in a month and played its most complete game of the season in the stunning 23-20 win over the Rams?
The Browns, at 10-4 and trying to clinch their first playoff berth since 2002, pose another stern test for the Jets, but no sterner than the 9-4 Rams presented last week.
The Jets offense has Sam Darnold under center, their three starting WRs in Jamison Crowder, Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims ready to go, TE Chris Herndon rising late this season, and a full complement of RBs in Frank Gore — one of the stars of the Rams win — Ty Johnson, Josh Adams and rookie La'Mical Perine, just activated from IR.
They're not expected to have TE Ryan Griffin for the game after he was placed their Reserve/COVID-19 list during the week.
The Green & White O will be going up against a Cleveland D that lost both of their middle linebackers, B.J. Goodson and rookie Jacob Phillips, who were placed on the Browns' COVID-19 list Saturday. However, that unit will have a presumably fired-up former Jets first-round pick, DL Sheldon Richardson, roaming the field. He was named Cleveland's game captain for this one.
The Browns have also had four wideouts placed on their COVID list before the team flew out of Cleveland for Newark Liberty Airport on Saturday. That list includes leading receiver Jarvis Landry plus Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge.
Thus QB Baker Mayfield, who has already beaten the Jets twice in his first two years in the NFL — in a "relief" appearance on Thursday Night Football as a rookie in 2018 and last year on MNF — could have some issues finding targets he's familiar with.
Mayfield will still have his No. 3-ranked rushing offense intact as he hands the ball off or pitches it to Nick Chubb (5.6 yards/carry) and Kareen Hunt (4.3). But the Browns OL will also be without rookie LT Jedrick Wills, who is inactive.
See the Green and White Arriving at MetLife Stadium for the Final Home Game of 2020
And the Jets will have a mixed back on defense trying to contain the Browns' top-10 offense, as DL Folorunso Fatukasi has returned from a COVID-list missed game vs. the Rams but top second-year DL Quinnen Williams has gone on Injured Reserve, joining OLB Jordan Jenkins, who went to IR a week ago.
Might we have a shootout in MetLife? We shall see soon, with the Jets and Browns kicking it off about 1:02 p.m. ET for their sixth meeting in the past six seasons and their seventh in the past 11 (the Jets having won their first five while the Browns taking the last two).
The Jets, who already declared play-making undrafted rookie free agent CB Javelin Guidry out of this game with a knee injury, have a seven-player inactive list for today's game:
- K Chase McLaughlin
- QB James Morgan
- CB Javelin Guidry
- TE Ross Travis
- OL Jimmy Murray
- DL Trevon Coley
- WR Lawrence Cager
The Jets have also elevated three linebackers — Noah Dawkins, Sharif Finch and Brady Sheldon — to the active roster.
The Brown have a four-player inactive list:
- S Tedric Thompson
- T Jedrick Wills
- G Wyatt Teller
- DE Joe Jackson