After picking up the victory last week against the Carolina Panthers, the Browns will be looking to open a season 2-0 for the first time since 1993.
The Jets come into the game fresh off a loss to the Baltimore Ravens and head coach Robert Saleh is already feuding with the New York media, so things appear to be normal for the Jets.
As for the Browns, there were some issues on both sides of the ball in Week 1 that needed addressing this week in practice and the Jets appear to be a perfect opponent to build off what went right against the Panthers and send the faithful home in a happy mood.
To that end, here is what you need to know about the game, along with a few storylines to watch, as the Browns take on the Jets.
Records: Cleveland is 1-0. New York is 0-1.
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
Stadium: First Energy Stadium in Cleveland
TV: WOIO CBS
Announcers: Spero Dedes, Jay Feely and Aditi Kinkhabwala (sidelines)
Radio: ESPN 850, 92.3 The Fan, 98.5 WNCX
Announcers: Jim Donovan, Nathan Zegura, Jerod Cherry (sidelines)
Last meeting: The Jets won the last meeting, 23-16, in Week 16 of the 2020 season.
All-time series: Cleveland leads the all-time series in the regular season, 14-13. The Browns are 9-8 all-time in the regular season at home against the Jets.
Weather: 81 degrees and partly cloudy, with no chance of precipitation. (weather.com)
Uniform: The Browns are keeping it classy again this week with brown jerseys and white pants.
run it back with the victory combo |⚪️ pic.twitter.com/dG85F4KxM4— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) September 17, 2022
Injury report: Browns - Questionable: Right tackle Jack Conklin (knee). Out: offensive tackle Chris Hubbard (elbow/illness). Jets - Questionable: Wide receiver Braxton Berrios (heel), Left tackle George Fant (knee), defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers (toe), punter Braden Mann (back), safety Jordan Whitehead (questionable). Doubtful: tight end CJ Uzomah (hamstring). Out: quarterback Zach Wilson (knee).
The line: Browns -6.5 (Draft Kings)
A Few Things to Watch
A calmer offense: Quarterback Jacoby Brissett admitted to being emotional after last week’s game, the first of 11 games he will start in place of the suspended Deshaun Watson.
That was evident from looking at Brissett’s stats as he completed just 52.9 percent of his throws, averaged just 4.3 yards per pass attempt, missed connecting on what likely would have been long touchdown passes to Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones and David Njoku, and the offense was just one-of-four in the red zone.
Even so, Brissett avoided turning the ball over against the Panthers and did lead the offense to 26 points - a total the Browns only exceeded once in the final 12 games of last season, so the day was not a complete disaster by any stretch.
It was also the first time the starting offense worked together, so now that they have the opening game out of the way and another week of practice together in the books the offense should operate much smoother this Sunday.
Brissett may not always hit the big throw, but if he can keep avoiding turnovers and the Brows continue running the ball the way they did against the Panthers (217 yards and 5.6 yards per carry) the offense should be good enough most weeks.
Communication breakdown: While the struggles on offense in Week 1 were not a complete surprise, the fact that Cleveland’s defense is still struggling with communication issues is concerning.
The defense gave up two big plays - a 75-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Robbie Anderson and a 50-yard reception by tight end Ian Thomas that led to a touchdown - which helped to make the game much closer than it should have been.
For a defense led by defensive coordinator Joe Woods, who is in his third season with the team, and a defensive secondary that has five starters back from last season, those types of communication breakdowns should be a thing of the past.
Cornerback Greg Newsome II said the defense has been focusing on the issue this week and is confident the situation will be resolved (quote via cleveland.com):
“A miscommunication on offense, maybe a lineman goes the wrong way, it’s a sack. You still got the ball back. You miscommunicate, especially in the secondary, as you can see, that’s a touchdown. It’s something that, you literally can be doing great the whole entire game, as we were I felt like, and one play can change the game.
“Game two, we’ll definitely be ready to go. Like our coach told us, there were really two plays where we gave up maybe 150 yards. If you take away those two explosive plays, which were literally eyes and communication, they would have had less than 10 yards through the air. I think we’ll definitely be ready going into game two.”
The good news from Week 1 is that outside of those two plays the defense was dominant as they held the Panthers to just 261 total yards of offense and four-of-11 on third down, had four sacks and a turnover.
Clean up those communication issues and this defense should be able to have another positive performance this week against the Jets.
Cornering the market: While Cleveland’s secondary had communication issues in Week 1, New York’s cornerback duo D.J. Reed and Sauce Garnder had a very productive opening weekend.
Reed and Gardner combined for a 0.0 passer rating when targeted by Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson as Reed did not allow a reception and Gardner allowed only one catch for 8 yards.
Even with the effort by Reed and Gardner the Jets allowed three touchdown passes, including a 55-yarder by Baltimore wide receiver Rashod Bateman, so if Brissett can keep his poise there should be opportunities for a big play or two in the passing game.
A big day from Myles Garrett: In four career games against the Jets, defensive end Myles Garrett has eight sacks, including multiple sacks in three of the games, to go with 11 quarterback hits and 17 pressures.
On Sunday the unenviable task of trying to slow down Garrett will fall to left tackle George Fant, who posted a pass blocking grade of 56 against the Ravens, which landed him at No. 52 among the 63 offensive tackles graded by Pro Football Focus in Week 1.
New York quarterback Joe Flacco took three sacks, was hit 11 times and pressured on 19 of his pass attempts last week against the Ravens, and there should be ample opportunities for Garrett to add to his sack total and help send the Jets on the path to their 14th consecutive loss in the month of September.
A Final Quote
Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt on tight end David Njoku (quote via a team-provided transcript):
“David’s production was huge in the game, not just on the catches but his ability to run block and what he does with his physicality is special. He is a big, big part of our success in the run game, as well. We will get him more involved. We had him on a down-the-field throw using his speed. The linebacker added on late and it was our only sack of the game, but he was running wide open and that would have been a huge play to David if we had got that pressure picked up.”
Those are just a few things to keep an eye on; now it is time to have your say. What are you looking for from the Browns in Sunday’s game against the Jets?