Throughout the offseason, NewYorkJets.com reporters Eric Allen, Ethan Greenberg, Randy Lange, Caroline Hendershot and John Pullano will each give their predictions to a series of questions regarding this year's Jets.
Today's question: What is the roadmap for a Jets victory in Cleveland?
EA: Get a lead. The Browns offense is predicated on its ground game with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt running behind a talented offensive line. In Cleveland's Week 1 victory over the Panthers, QB Jacoby Brisette averaged only 6 yards/attempt on downfield passes, which was the second-lowest among qualified passers. The Jets allowed three explosives in the pass game last week, but rookie CB Sauce Gardner and veteran D.J. Reed were outstanding, and Lamar Jackson had only 116 yards passing (4.3 yards/attempt) on his other 27 passes. The two CBs give the Jets the ability to add an extra body in the box and they need numbers against Chubb and Hunt, who combined for 213 yards scrimmage yards and 2 TDs at Carolina. The Jets must be clean in the kicking game, hold onto the ball and get some explosive plays from their young talent at the skill positions. If they can gain a lead in the second half, this pass rush can get after Brisette and the Jets can get a W in the Dawg Pound.
EG: It starts with stopping the run, which the Jets did well against the Ravens. The Browns are 17-7 in games RB Nick Chubb eclipses 100 rushing yards. Chubb, the NFL's second-leading rusher in 2021, picked up 141 yards on the ground in Cleveland's Week 1 victory at Carolina. The Jets held the Ravens to 63 rushing yards in Week 1, the lowest total since Lamar Jackson became a starter. If the Jet can replicate a similar performance, they'll have a chance. Browns QB Jacoby Brissett completed 59.5% of his passes last week, throwing for 147 yards. The Green & White will have a chance to even their mark at 1-1 by forcing Brissett to throw against a secondary featuring CBs D.J. Reed and Sauce Gardner, who combined for a 0.0 passer rating when targeted in Week 1. Reed did not allow a catch and Gardner allowed 1 for 8 yards.
RL: Win the battle of the dueling edges. On offense, contain DE Myles Garrett (8 sacks in 4 previous games vs. Jets) with "on" OL play, a quick-release Joe Flacco-led passing game and more run/pass balance. Get some explosives from Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, Garrett Wilson and Michael Carter. Convert more third downs. On defense, contain RB Nick Chubb as they Jets have in the past (32 yards/game, 3.1 yards/carry in 3 games), then launch Carl Lawson (4.5 sacks in 3 previous meetings vs. Browns) and Jets' rushers at Jacoby Brissett. Start faster than the Panthers did vs. the Browns last week (4 punts, INT in first 5 possessions). Win the turnover battle. Get K Greg Zuerlein back in the groove. And off we go.
CH: Stopping the run game is key for a Jets victory in Week 2 at Cleveland. The Jets defended the run well against the Ravens, holding them to 63 yards, and need to duplicate that against Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Since 2019, Chubb and Hunt have averaged 139.3 yards per game rushing, which is the third-best in the league. The Jetsoffense has to clean up the drops, fumbles, missed kicks and mental errors from last week. As Corey Davis mentioned after the Ravens game, the Jets have to stop shooting themselves in the foot. Finally, stopping controlling DE Myles Garrett can swing the game. In his previous four games against the Jets, Garrett has had a total of 8 sacks, 11 hits, and 17 pressures. If the offensive tackles can slow him down, that will give QB Joe Flacco and the offense time to get the ball down the field.
JP: Stay dedicated to defending the run — that was the theme for players and coaches. "He's not backing away no matter how times you stuff him," DC Jeff Ulbrich said referring to Browns play-caller HC Kevin Stefanski. Jets DL Jacob Martin added: "It is going to be third-and-five and they are going to run the ball. Or it is going to be second down and long, they are going to run the ball. Even fourth down, they might run it." The Browns wear down and exploit teams by staying committed to the run late. In 2021, Cleveland led the league with 737 yards rushing in the fourth quarter and was second in attempts (161) and yards per carry (4.58). In a small sample size this season, the Jets have proven to be effective in stopping the run, holding Baltimore to 63 yards (11 in the first half). On offense, create explosives. Against Carolina, Cleveland surrendered 146 of 261 yards on defense in three plays, showing their defense can be exploited on big plays.