The Cleveland Browns play their second consecutive game in New York when they face the Jets at Metlife Stadium on Sunday.
After beating the New York Giants 20-6, the Browns can clinch a playoff spot with a win and losses by the Dolphins, Ravens or Colts on Sunday.
The Jets upset the Rams last week 23-20, giving them their first win of the season.
Who will prevail?
Let’s take a look at our writer’s bold predictions for this Sunday’s matchup.
Writer: Jake Luppino
The Cleveland Browns look to inch one step closer to a divisional title this week.
In their way, stands the one win Jets, who just shocked the world in Week 15.
But, Browns fans, no need to worry, that won’t be happening again.
QB Baker Mayfield is easing his ways into things and is showing his true potential as a number one pick.
More importantly, this Browns team as a whole is hitting their stride just in time for the playoffs.
Browns Will Be Dominant
History shows that when a team pulls off a drastic upset, they follow it up with a disappointing outing.
Coupled along with the fact that the Browns are beginning to play their best football, it is going to be a long Sunday for the Jets.
Over the last three weeks, Browns fans have seen a different Baker Mayfield.
He is more poised in the pocket, makes better reads with the ball, and against the Ravens, completed two come from behind drives in the fourth quarter.
Last week against the Giants, Mayfield seemed as if he was in control for majority of the game.
This weekend against the Jets, I expect the same thing.
The duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt will allow Mayfield to slip into a better rhythm.
Last week, although they won, the Jets allowed Cam Akers to break out a few big plays with his feet.
In their first win of the season, the Jets were assisted by a poor performance by Jared Goff.
The Cleveland Browns will come out Sunday with a disciplined approach that involves running the ball and making the right reads in the passing game.
I have them winning by three possessions.
My Prediction: Browns 28, Jets 10
Writer: Rocco Nuosci
The Cleveland Browns were probably glad to see the New York Jets get their first win of the season last week.
No one wants to be the team that ends a win-less streak for an opponent.
That pressure is out of the way for the brown and orange.
On paper, this should be a decimation of the Jets.
Kevin Stefanski will have his group ready, however, as he knows not to overlook them as the Rams did.
#Browns Kevin Stefanski talks about getting ready for the Jets pic.twitter.com/sH1NOTjelu
— Fred Greetham (@FredGreetham) December 23, 2020
Time of Possession
Winning the time of possession battle is important in any game.
It’s especially important when facing a lesser opponent.
One of the problems the Rams faced was the inability to get their defense off the field.
The Jets converted on seven third downs over the course of the game, including the dagger in the fourth quarter.
Could not be happier for @frankgore a true winner pic.twitter.com/4nW7Omfarv
— Ben Wong (@benwongtweets) December 21, 2020
Stopping the Run
The Browns are 7-0 this season when holding their opponent to under 100 rushing yards.
The Jets have passed the century mark on the ground just once in their last seven outings.
Sam Darnold is not a bad quarterback, but they simply don’t have the receivers to consistently torch another secondary.
If Cleveland can stuff up Frank Gore and the Jets rushing attack, it should be a similar outcome to last Sunday.
My Prediction: Browns 24, Jets 10
Writer: Ben Donahue
First of all, congratulations to the Browns who broke the 10 win barrier for the first time since 2007!
Their 20-6 victory over the Giants was the fifth win in the last six games for Cleveland.
Even better, division rival Pittsburgh lost their third straight game on Monday night to the lowly Bengals.
That loss puts the Browns in a decent position to win the division title (assuming a number of factors go their way).
Up next is the even lowlier Jets, owners of a 1-13 record. Before last week, the Jets were the laughingstock of the league.
It was clear to many that they were angling hard to win the “Trevor Lawrence Sweepstakes.”
All New York had to do was lose every game to basically secure the number one pick in the 2021 draft.
Then, it was assumed, they would certainly draft Clemson quarterback Lawrence, who many believe will forgo his senior year and ply his trade in the NFL.
New York beat the Rams 23-20 on Sunday and simultaneously fell out of poll position for the no. 1 pick—and Trevor Lawrence.@RileyMcAtee: https://t.co/zavPYDQuOZ
— The Ringer (@ringer) December 21, 2020
Apparently, the Jets players didn’t get the memo, or ignored it entirely.
This past Sunday, New York faced the playoff hopeful Rams and shocked the world with a 23-20 upset.
In the process, they made LA’s vaunted defense look very beatable.
Jets quarterback Sam Darnold looked halfway decent and stunningly had zero turnovers against the Rams D.
Because of injuries, Darnold has only played in 10 games this season and thrown for 1,767 yards.
Of course, that yardage comes with a helping of six touchdown passes and nine picks.
Darnold has also been sacked 30 times this year. His leading receivers are Jamison Crowder and Breshad Perriman, who lead the team with 576 yards and five scores and 421 yards and three TDs’ respectively.
The Jets leading rusher is Frank Gore.
The ageless one has 605 yards, a 3.5 yards per carry average, and two touchdowns.
Gore’s backup, former Lion Ty Johnson, has been an interesting addition (acquired in October).
Johnson scored the Jets first touchdown against the Rams and is a threat through the ground and the air.
On offense, the Browns will have to account for Jets linebacker Neville Hewitt.
Hewitt has 122 total tackles for the year along with eight tackles for loss and two sacks.
Cleveland would have also had an eye on defensive tackle Quinnen Williams.
However, it was announced on Wednesday that he will miss the remainder of the season with a concussion and neck injuries.
That means Cleveland will face a Jets defense ranked 28th in the league and without their best run defender and pass rusher.
Offensively, New York isn’t much better, currently ranked dead last in points scored with 206.
This game will be a great opportunity for the Browns to get some “milestones.”
For instance, how about getting Baker Mayfield a third game in 2020 with over 300 yards passing?
Cleveland could also push for getting Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt over 1,000 yards rushing for the year.
Chubb is easily within striking distance as he currently sits at 931 yards.
Hunt is at 793 yards, but a healthy rushing day could get him closer to the mark.
If, or when, this milestone is completed, Chubb and Hunt will be the first Browns duo since Kevin Mack and Earnest Byner in 1985 to both rush for over 1,000 yards.
#Browns Running Backs, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, are both on pace for 1000 yard seasons.
Chubb has 184 Yards, averaging 92.0 Y/G. Hunt has 158 Yards, averaging 79.0 Y/G.
Browns Legends Kevin Mack and Earnest Byner both hit 1000 yards in 1985.#NFL @NickChubb21 @Kareemhunt7 pic.twitter.com/OcYgKrSTUH
— The Hottest Take Sports Podcast (@Hottest_TakePod) September 25, 2020
This weekend, Cleveland just needs to play their game, keep their foot on the gas, don’t get sloppy, and do NOT allow the Jets to stay in the game.
We saw what happened last week when a supposed playoff team didn’t take the Jets seriously.
I’m looking for some offensive fireworks from the Browns and a 35-17 Cleveland win.
My Prediction: Browns 35, Jets 17
Writer: Pat Opperman
Before the season started, everybody assumed the Cleveland Browns would control their playoff destiny in Week 16, right?
And we all knew the season finale would probably decide the division title?
The only thing that could be better is if the Ravens beat the Steelers on tiebreakers.
Then, we could knock Pittsburgh right out of the playoffs next week.
Alas, we’ll have to run the risk of hosting Pittsburgh in a playoff game come January.
And that is cool enough for me!
But first, Cleveland has to take care of business against the New York Jets.
New York comes off a huge upset of the LA Rams in what should keep the Browns from looking past them.
The Jets are similar to the Giants in that they have a top-10 rush defense and problems in their passing defense.
But Cleveland might have caught a break that will get their rushing attack back on track this week.
Defensive end Quinnen Williams, the Jets best defender, is headed to injured reserve with a concussion and neck injury.
What should be another ho-hum, workmanlike Cleveland victory could be even more ho-hum.
Baker Mayfield will be able to do anything he wants, as will Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
Stefanski will mercifully run the clock all game and keep the score down.
My Prediction: Browns 27, Jets 6
Writer: Mark Bergin
It seems the Browns will avoid the potential of an embarrassing trap game to the Jets after they found a way to upset the Rams in Week 15.
The Jets finally won a game to improve their record to 1-13.
On Sunday, the Browns can clinch their first playoff birth since the 2002 season.
A win or tie with the Jets would put the Browns in the postseason.
As of Wednesday morning, the Browns enter Week 16 as a 9.5-point favorite.
With a playoff birth at stake, I think the Browns win again on Sunday, especially because the Jets offense is horrible.
The Jets rank last in the NFL in several offensive categories, including:
- Average yards per game: 271.1
- Yards per play: 4.6
- Points per game: 14.7
- Rushing touchdowns: Eight (tied with the Houston Texans and Chicago Bears)
- Passing yards per game: 168.2
- Passing yards per attempt: 6.1
- First downs per game: 16.4
- Offensive snaps per game: 58.4
- Red zone touchdown percentage: 41.2%
- Time of possession: 27:13 per game
My Prediction: Browns 31, Jets 17
Writer: Wendi Oliveros
Week 16’s game between the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets could have been a trap game for the Browns.
Thankfully the Jets got their first win last week against the Los Angeles Rams, and the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.
We are once again reminded that any given Sunday what should be a lop-sided result doesn’t always translate to the same outcome on the field.
I think this game will be closer than it should or could be.
Here are my concerns for this game.
Yes, every team has them especially in Week 16.
Center Nick Harris responded to the call to play guard during the Giants game.
Can he keep up the level of play and momentum?
Chris Hubbard is out for the year, and hopefully, Wyatt Teller returns for the playoffs so Harris has to play really well these two weeks.
I am also concerned about Myles Garrett.
He has not hidden the fact that his recovery from COVID-19 has affected his fitness and breathing.
I’m not sure if playing a professional contact sport at top speeds is conducive to healing, but the Browns certainly need him in as close as top form as he can deliver.
Cody Parkey is not rock solid like he was early in the season.
He has a reputation of not delivering in big moments.
Let’s hope he isn’t reflecting on the past too much and focusing on his opportunity to shine with the Browns and perhaps rewrite some of that “double-doink” history.
My Prediction: Browns 24, Jets 17
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