On Sunday the New York Jets (6-8) take on the Cleveland Browns (4-10) at MetLife Stadium (1 p.m. EST). The Jets are coming off of a hard fought loss to the Panthers while the Browns have lost 5 games in a row.
Better than advertised- The Browns defense is on the rise and is amongst the league leaders in several categories. The unit is 8th against the run, 9th against the pass, and 8th in yards allowed. The Jets offense better come ready to play on Sunday or they will get stifled and embarrassed on their home field.
Get Geno going- Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg must come up with a game plan that allows Geno Smith to get in sync with his receivers early on in the game. Mornhinweg should feature the short and intermediate passing game and allow players like Jeremy Kerley, Santonio Holmes, and Kellen Winslow to make plays after the catch. The goal is to prevent third and long situations where the defense can pin their ears back and go after Geno. Note: Keep an eye on the status of defensive back Joe Haden who has been dealing with a hip injury. Haden, the Browns' best defensive back, has not practiced all week and remains questionable for Sunday.
Contain Gordon- Cleveland wide receiver Josh Gordon has emerged one of the most explosive pass catchers in the NFL. Gordon (1,467 receiving yards, 9 tds) has rare size and speed and can dominate a secondary if not accounted for at all times. The Jets defensive backfield must play physical with Josh and roll strong coverage to his side of the field.
Contain Cameron- Browns tight end Jordan Cameron (75 receptions, 7 touchdowns) is another emerging star who has the ability to spread the field in the passing game. The Jets defense has notoriously struggled to defend tight ends so this is a match-up that Cleveland can look to take advantage of if Jordan plays. Cameron is listed as questionable for Sunday due to concussion symptoms.
Hit Campbell- Veteran quarterback Jason Campbell has been doing a very good job of getting the ball down the field to his playmakers. The Jets defense must remain solid in coverage in order to allow their front seven to get after Campbell. Linebacker Quinton Coples has been playing at a very high level and should be able to make some plays off the edge.
This game is for the diehards as both teams have been eliminated from playoff contention. The fear for the Jets is that the team comes out flat after an emotional loss last week. If that is the case the environment could get very ugly in MetLife stadium.
This match-up really gives me a bad feeling but I will take the Jets team that should rally around their head coach. Rex Ryan has preached about his team's maturity and leadership and this is the type of game where it will all show. 21-17 Jets