The Jets ended their 20-game first quarter scoring drought last week and have developed a running game to balance their offense. That can only help QB Chad Pennington and the passing game as the team moves forward with the season. On defense, the Green & White face a Browns team that will be reacting to the resignation of their offensive coordinator this week. Cleveland has yet to score a touchdown in the first 15 minutes of a game and is at the bottom of the league in total yards and yards per offensive drive. Jonathan Vilma and company will have to work to keep RB Reuben Droughns under wraps and keep him from catching fire, as he did at midseason last year.
A win this week could put the Jets into the postseason mix as they head into their bye, a remarkable feat considering the low expectations heading into the season. But they must be careful not to look past this game and get caught looking down the road.
Match up 1
NT Ted Washington (6'5", 365 lbs) vs. C Nick Mangold (6'4", 299 lbs). The rookie center will have his hands full on first and second downs trying to block one of the league's premier run-stoppers. While Mangold has the quick feet to gain position and sustain blocks, Washington's massive size allows him to wipe off single blocks as a two-gap player. Look for the Jets to use double teams, combined with first down passes to neutralize Washington on early downs.
Match up 2
HB Reuben Droughns (5'11", 215 lbs) vs. MLB Jonathan Vilma (6'1", 230 lbs). Droughns is a power runner that will be looking for the bubbles inside, especially if New York is in their 3-4 look. The Browns back suffered a shoulder injury in Week Two and has looked tentative as he hits the inside holes, but lacks the speed to outrun speedy linebackers like Vilma to the perimeter. Vilma uses good tackling technique, which will help to stop Droughns on contact as he tends to run tall.
Match up 3
WR Braylon Edwards (6'3", 211 lbs) vs. DC Andre Dyson (5'10", 183 lbs). Edwards has the clear advantage in the deep passing game in terms of height and leaping ability, but must rely on suspect pass protection and a young quarterback to get those opportunities. Dyson gains an advantage in the short passing game with his ability to close quickly on the ball and deliver a blow that can force an incompletion. Edwards doesn't readily gain position on slant routes and tries to body catch in tight situations.
Things to Look For:
Teams: Jets HC Eric Mangini succeeded Browns HC Romeo Crennel as defensive coordinator at New England last season. Both were members of Bill Parcells' staff with the Jets from 1997-1999…Mangini began his NFL career as a Cleveland Browns ball boy in 1994…the road team has won three of the last four games in this series.
Chad Pennington: Pennington has won five of his last eight October starts and has at least a 60% completion percentage in five of those games…Jets are 20-8 when Pennington has a 90+ passer rating. His current rating of 91.3 is 5th in the AFC.
Leon Washington: Washington has rushed for 100+ yards in two of last three games and is averaging 5.3 yards per carry in that time…had first multiple TD game with two against Detroit last week.
Kevan Barlow: Barlow is tied for 3rd in the NFL with 5 rush TD.
Laveranues Coles: Coles' 42 receptions is the most by a Jets in the first seven games of the season since Al Toon had 43 in 1986.
Andre Dyson, Kerry Rhodes, and David Barrett are the only trio of teammates in the AFC with at least 2 INT.
Charlie Frye: Frye has a TD pass in each of his last four home games.
Reuben Droughns: Droughns has at least 99 yards rushing in three of his last five October starts.
Joe Jurevicius: Has seven TD catches in his last ten games, including two in his last three contests.
Kellen Winslow: His 38 catches is the second most by a TE in the first eight games of his career. Keith Jackson had 48 in 1988…Winslow has 33 receptions this season, the most of any TE in the league.
Joshua Cribbs: Leads the NFL with 28.7 KOR average…The Browns cover teams are 1st in KOR cover and 4th in PR cover.