On Sunday, the Cleveland Browns scored a surprising 26-24 win over the Carolina Panthers to start the 2022 season on a positive and perhaps even an auspicious note.
It wasn’t a pretty win, but Cleveland got it done largely thanks to its running game, as Nick Chubb had 141 yards while Kareem Hunt added 46 more.
Now, the task for the Browns is to improve to 2-0 on the season, and they can do so with a victory at home versus the New York Jets on Sunday.
The Jets suffered a dismal defeat at MetLife Stadium in Week 1 to Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens, 24-9, and they will surely be hungry for a win.
If Cleveland is on its game, it should have a strong chance of emerging victorious, as the Jets aren’t exactly Super Bowl contenders.
However, as everyone knows, any given team can beat any given team on any given Sunday, and with Pro Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson suspended, the Browns have little, if any margin for error.
There are three players they must key on to make sure Week 2 turns out well for them.
Mosley doesn’t get the publicity that someone such as Bobby Wagner does, but he is one of the better middle or inside linebackers in the NFL.
Last season he posted a career-high 168 tackles (103 solo), but somehow he didn’t make it to the Pro Bowl, an honor he has received four other times in his career.
BREAKING: #Jets LB CJ Mosley is questionable for Sunday’s game vs Tennessee as the NFL is investigating him for murder on live television
— NYJ MIKE (@NyjMike) September 28, 2021
On Sunday he recorded 11 tackles (seven solo) while helping to hold Lamar Jackson to just 17 yards rushing.
Without Watson, the Browns will have to lean on their running game in order to stay within striking distance of a playoff spot by the time he is eligible to return, which will be Week 13.
Luckily, they have a strong offensive line, but that line will have to be on point in order to hold Mosley in check.
Flacco may not be the quarterback he was 10 years ago when he led the Ravens to a Super Bowl championship, but even at age 37, he isn’t someone Cleveland can afford to take lightly.
On Sunday, he got off 59 pass attempts, but he connected on just 37 of them while throwing one touchdown and one interception.
The only reason Flacco is starting is because Zach Wilson, the No. 2 pick in this year’s NFL draft, suffered a knee injury during a preseason game and won’t play until at least Week 4.
Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney, the Browns’ two main pass rushers, will need to make sure Flacco never gets comfortable and looks every bit his age this coming Sunday.
In Week 1, the Ravens were able to pressure Flacco enough to sack him three times.
— NFL Unlimited (@NFLUnlimited) September 11, 2022
On the same day, Cleveland sacked Carolina (and former Browns) QB Baker Mayfield four times, with Garrett accounting for two of them.
The Jets may not have any Pro Bowl-caliber wide receivers, but their top tight end, Tyler Conklin, could be on the verge of a breakout season.
Last season, his fourth in the NFL, he put up 593 yards and three touchdowns for the Minnesota Vikings.
Conklin had only 14 yards in Week 1, but he scored a touchdown, albeit in garbage time.
He had a very strong training camp, and the Browns need to make sure he doesn’t have the type of performance that will have New York City media clamoring for him to be selected to the Pro Bowl.