Throughout the season, NewYorkJets.com_ reporters Eric Allen, Randy Lange and Ethan Greenberg will each give their answers to a series of questions regarding this year's team.
EA: The Jets have to win the turnover battle. Cleveland leads the entire NFL with eight takeaways and Gregg Williams will come at Sam Darnold with different pressure packager while disguising in the back end. The strength of this Browns club is that defense featuring the likes of DE Myles Garrett, DT Larry Ogunjobi, 'backers Christian Kirksey and Joe Schobert plus opportunistic playmakers in the back end including speedy rookie cornerback Denzel Ward. But the Browns have yet to find their way offensively as QB Tyrod Taylor has been sacked 10 times and the Brownies are tied for 27th in third-down offense (30%) and rank 27th in passing (192 Yds/G). Star wideout Jarvis Landry is also battling a knee injury and was listed as questionable and Josh Gordon is a Patriot. An offense finding its way can turn things around in a hurry if they continue to get the opportunities they are getting from this Cleveland defense. Conversely the Jets are second in the league with seven takeaways, but the Browns have turned it over twice and Taylor (despite interceptions late in both games to date) is known for his ball security. Herm Edwards always used to say you want every drive to end with a kick — extra point, field goal or punt. If the Jets can do that tonight and flip the field when backed up, they should be in good shape to move to 2-1. This is going to be a street fight, though.
RL: Besides scoring more points, the thing the Jets need to do to exit the Dawg Pound 2-1 is keep their cool in a tough venue, as they did in Ford Field, and score at least a draw in the turnover battle and don't give away any gift points off turnovers. Sam Darnold's three INTs have provided opponents 17 to 21 points — two TDs on the early picks he threw, at least a FG on the TO near the top of the third quarter vs. Miami. Add Robby Anderson's fumble after the catch that led to another Dolphins score and that's 21 points scored by the opponents after the Jets' five giveaways, 4.2 points/GA — too generous. The INTs are part of the growth process for Sam but he needs to sprout quickly because the Browns uncharacteristically lead the NFL with a plus-6 TO margin. The Jets aren't far behind, tied for fourth with a plus-2, and the back seven has been very active in producing the seven takeaways so far. With disciplined rush lanes and coverage against Tyrod Taylor, the Jets can minimize his damage and possibly come up with a big takeaway such as the late INTs Taylor has thrown up this year, costing the Browns a possible game-winning FG try in regulation vs. Pittsburgh and leading to the go-ahead TD by the Saints on Sunday.
EG: In order to leave Cleveland with a win, the Jets have to control the trenches. Browns defensive end Myles Garrett is a specimen. The 2017 first overall pick recorded two sacks against the Jets last year in his NFL debut and totaled nine in just 11 games. Through two weeks this season, the 6'4", 272-pounder has registered two sacks, but the Browns defensive line is more than just Garrett. Larry Ogunjobi, the team's 2017 third-round selection, leads the club with three sacks. However, Cleveland will be without defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah, who is still recovering from an ankle injury. Providing Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold with time like in Week 1 against the Lions will help the Green & White's chance to win, but establishing a ground game is also very important, especially on the road. After totaling 169 rushing yards in Week 1, the Jets only ran for 42 yards against the Dolphins. Defensively, the Jets need to get after Browns QB Tyrod Taylor. The Browns no longer have future Hall of Fame left tackle Joe Thomas and if the pass rush can affect Taylor similar to the last time the Jets squared off against him, as a member of the Bills, he'll have a tough night. If they can collapse the pocket and limit Taylor's mobility, the Jets' chances to return home with a win significantly increase.