DETROIT - NOVEMBER 07: LaDainian Tomlinson #21 of the New York Jets runs for a short gain during the third quarter of the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on November 7 2010 in Detroit Michigan. The Jets defeated the Lions 23-20 in overtime. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Defending Super Bowl Champs, on the road, against the most accurate passer in the league? BOOM dominating win, check.
Team of the last decade, 3 time Super Bowl winning QB, evil genius coach? BOOM dominating win, check.
Media darling coach and team, great defense led by best corner in the league? ...
Let's see what the numbers say about the third team in a row that should crush us on paper.
I was never sold on the Jets last year. Mark Sanchez screamed Brady Quinn/Matt Leinert with less meaningful experience and unfounded cockiness. Furthermore, he had limited weapons with an overrated running back and Braylon Edwards. The only thing that offense had going for them was some really good O-Linemen, especially Nick Mangold.
The defense dragged that terrible offense to 9-7 and a lucky playoff spot. Sure, they got to the AFC Championship game. But that is to overlook some serious flaws. Santonio Holmes, LaDanian Tomlinson and an extra year of experience for Sanchez made me think they could probably build on last year's run. They have, but I don't think they are necessarily great.
When the Jets have the ball
Overall, the Jets are an average offensive team this year, 18th in the league. They are 21st in passing DVOA. They are 10th in rushing DVOA. Sanchez is 27th as a passer in DVOA, almost exactly average on a per play basis. And I think he is sliding. I'd be surprised if he ends up with a positive DVOA. Its hard to say who is dragging down whom, but Braylon Edwards is 47th in DVOA, -1%. Jericho Cotchery is one of the worst WRs in the league, -30% DVOA and -77 DYAR. Holmes has improved the passing game, 4% DVOA for him. The Browns pass D is improving, now 22nd in the league.
Tomlinson is having something of a revival season. He is 8th in DVOA, 10% higher than average. That's no where near his prime, but way better than most expected out of him this season. Shonn Greene has been above average too, at 4%. The Browns rush D is very good, 7th in the league in DVOA.
(the rest of the preview will be abbreviated, as some computer issues have attacked me once again)
When the Browns have the ball
The Jets defense is half of what their reputation is. Their rush D is 2nd in the league 23% better than average. Their pass D, however, has been suspect. 12% worse than average, 21st in the league.
Thoughts and Conclusions
I actually like the matchup a lot. We'll likely need Colt McCoy to do more than the last couple games. But in his brief flashes, he has shown he would be up to it. Also, he won't need to score too much, as I am confident that our D will hold the Jets to under 20 points.