This Thursday, the Cleveland Browns take on the New York Jets. To help preview a few topics from the Jets’ perspective, we reached out to MacGregor Wells from Gang Green Nation and exchanged five questions with him.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Browns are 7.5-point favorites against the Jets.
Chris: “With it being a short week, I’m not expecting Zach Wilson to be cleared in time to start at quarterback against the Browns. Is that your expectation, and how do fans like Trevor Siemian operating the offense?”
MacGregor: “The Jets have ruled out Zach Wilson for Thursday’s game. Trevor Siemian is not starting quarterback material. He is a checkdown artist who, despite rarely throwing more than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage, still turns the ball over far too often. This game could get very ugly with Siemian facing an excellent Browns defense. Having a modicum of success against the Commanders’ worst in the NFL defense is a very different thing from playing against the Browns.”
Chris: “Joe Flacco has been thriving for weeks in Cleveland, but that has also come against teams with pass defenses ranked near the bottom of the league. The Jets’ pass defense ranks near the top of the league. Tell us about how good that area has been for New York.”
MacGregor: “In my opinion the Jets have the best trio of cornerbacks in the NFL in Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed and Michael Carter. Anybody can get beat in the NFL, but trying to have sustained success throwing to wide receivers against the Jets’ cornerbacks is a tough way to operate. The Jets defensive line also does a pretty good job pressuring the quarterback without having to blitz, which frees up seven guys to drop into coverage.
Like any defense, however, there are ways to be successful attacking the Jets through the air. Good pass catching running backs and tight ends isolated against the Jets’ mediocre safeties should have success. In addition, operating in four and five wide formations means one or two receivers will not be covered by a Jets cornerback. If your 4th and 5th receivers are pretty good, they can have success against the Jets. And of course, as mentioned previously, anybody can be beaten, including the Jets cornerbacks. A stud #1 wide receiver is certainly capable of winning their matchup against this Jets defense on any given day.”
Chris: “What is the biggest strength and weakness on the Texans’ offensive line?”
MacGregor: “Biggest strength on the Jets’ offensive line? Uhhh … can I have another question please? Seriously, the Jets’ offensive line is atrocious. It’s as bad an offensive line as I’ve ever seen. I guess rookie center/guard Joe Tippmann isn’t playing too badly, but that’s about it. The rest of the line is, well, offensive. Multiple pass rushers break through almost instantly. The Jets’ backs get hit behind the line on a regular basis. It’s a travesty. I don’t think the Browns defense will have much trouble feasting against this Jets line.”
Chris: “Tell us about one player who Browns fans may not have heard of, but who could have an impact on this Sunday’s game.”
MacGregor: “I think the one guy that fits the bill here is edge rusher Bryce Huff. Huff was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2020. He has slowly developed into one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. He is a pass rush specialist, so he won’t be on the field much in running situations. But when Huff is in there in pass rushing situations he gets as much pressure on the quarterback as almost any pass rusher in the NFL. He has elite speed, an extremely quick first step, and he is relentless. With Joe Flacco being one of the least mobile quarterbacks in the NFL, I expect Huff to give the Browns some trouble on Thursday.”
Chris: “The Browns are favorites against the Jets on Thursday (Browns -7 as of this question, per DraftKings Sportsbook). Who would you pick against the spread?”
MacGregor: “I think you have to pick the Browns here. I’m surprised the spread isn’t larger. The Browns have an excellent defense and the Jets have the worst offense in the NFL. With Trevor Siemian starting I wouldn’t be shocked if the Jets get shut out. The Jets defense may present some problems for the Browns offense, but if the Browns just get to double digits, in my opinion this game will be out of reach. You never know what might happen in the NFL. The Jets offense might play out of its mind. The Jets defense might get a bunch of turnovers. The Jets special teams might make multiple big plays. Anything could happen. But the smart way to bet, in my opinion, is the Browns win big on Thursday night.”
Thanks again to MacGregor for taking the time to answer my questions.