I probably shouldn't care so much about the Cleveland Browns beating the team that Braylon Edwards is on, but I do. Ever since he was traded by Cleveland, this is a receiver who has done nothing but trash his former team (editor's note: that's a link to a rant on Edwards for what he said in January 2010).
I won't rehash all of the reasons why Edwards is a tool. If you want to find out yourself, then all you really need to do is listen to his next interview: he's always bound to say something asinine, and not in a "lighthearted, Ochocinco type of way."
It would be amazing to see Edwards drop a potentially game-changing touchdown this week, but on the same note, let's hope that it doesn't even get to that point. If the Browns play great defense, the best-case scenario is that Edwards doesn't even get open enough to have a chance to catch the ball. Other "please let them happen" wishes include T.J. Ward delivering a clean hit to Edwards at some point in the game, and Edwards dropping a pass right off the bat only to blame his quarterback after the game. Plus, if there's a receiver talent-wise who the Browns should be more concerned about covering, he would be Santonio Holmes.
The worst-case scenario is that Edwards catches a long pass against the Browns for a touchdown. I know we like to think of him as just an "asshole who drops passes when it counts," but he can still make the big plays down the field. He doesn't get targeted very often, but he's the type of player who still might have 2-catch, 75-yard, 1 touchdown type of games. Hopefully Rob Ryan crafts another great defensive gameplan.
Speaking of Rob, he'll be facing his brother, Rex Ryan, this week. And, head coach Eric Mangini will be facing his former team for the first time. The extra coaching dynamics only add to the chess match game that this week's game should be.
While we never know how long it will last, it feels great that the Cleveland Browns are suddenly a "respectable" team around the league. The Browns earned that by dominating two of the best teams in football. If Cleveland can make it three in a row this Sunday, then Cleveland will reach an entirely different level: consideration for actually being one of the top teams in football. It might not be visible record-wise, but a three-game stretch like that, combined with the schedule we have coming up and the number of teams in the AFC with records that are close to each other, puts the playoffs well within reach.
Back to the Jets. The Jets' offense has struggled the past two weeks, something that has been a surprise to me. They have seen the reemergence of LaDainian Tomlinson, and have four solid receivers on their roster (Edwards, Holmes, Cotchery, and Keller). That unit, on paper, has more playmakers than the Saints and Patriots do. The difference comes at the quarterback position, where I still have my doubts about Mark Sanchez. Sanchez came up with some clutch performances earlier this season and finished strong against the Lions last week, but I find it difficult to imagine that Drew Brees and Tom Brady would be dumbfounded by the Browns' defense the past two weeks, only to have Sanchez move the offense with ease.
This is a tough match for the Browns' offense. The Jets feature a good run defense, and while their secondary has been passed against a little more this year, it almost seems like a guarantee that they will line their cornerbacks up one-on-one against our "no-name" wide receivers. Peyton Hillis will have less running room, so I expect McCoy to have to make some good throws. He did a good job last week of putting the ball where only his receivers could get it, but the windows will be even smaller this week. If the Jets do indeed go man-to-man, I'd be really interested in seeing if the Browns try to utilize Evan Moore a few more times as a receiver, since his tall frame can shield off the Jet corners.
The anticipation for Sunday's game is there, possibly more than any other week this season. Let's hope the Browns' confidence level remains high and they are able to pull off another key win.