Week 3 Game Preview: Browns – Jets

Victory comes late—
And is held low to freezing lips—
Too rapt with frost
To take it—
How sweet it would have tasted—
Just a Drop—

Emily Dickinson

Twentieth time must to be the charm, right? Mere days after the Cleveland Browns (0-1-1) dropped their first game of the year they will return home to face the New York Jets (1-1) in a Thursday night primetime clash.

Cleveland leads the all-time series 13-12 including a 1-0 mark in the postseason. The Jets are riding a five-game win streak in the series including a 17-14 victory in Ohio last season. The Browns have not beaten the Jets since a 24-18 triumph in 2007 when Braylon Edwards caught a 4-yard touchdown pass.

Thursday games are generally unpredictable, and Vegas apparently believes enough in the home side to make them three-point favorites. It’s hardly a ringing endorsement, but it’s not a bad sign to see the Browns favored in Week 3 considering the last time the Browns won a game the country had a different President.

The Jets opened the season with an impressive 48-17 Monday Night victory in Detroit and followed it up with a lackluster 20-12 loss at home to Miami. Handsome Sam Darnold, the rookie quarterback from USC, has thrown 41-of-62 passing for 532 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions in his first two pro games. Cleveland fans will see some familiar names in Green and White as well. Isaiah Crowell stars as the feature back for New York and has accumulated 137 yards on 22 carries for a 6.2 average and two scores. Former Buckeye Terrelle Pryor lines up at wide receiver and has caught seven balls for 133 yards in the 2018 season.

In the wake of Sunday’s loss to New Orleans, General Manager John Dorsey decided the team needed a different placekicker. I can imagine why. Enter Greg Joseph, international man of intrigue. Joseph, 24, played college ball at Florida Atlantic University. He hails from Johannesburg, South Africa, and has never attempted a field goal in the NFL. Miami gave Joseph a look during the preseason, he made all three kicks he attempted, before ultimately dropping him at the final cutdown. He’s no Dan Bailey, but he is purportedly healthy so that’s something.

While Tyrod Taylor and offense have largely struggled in the young season the defense has shown up to play. The D ranks twelfth in points allowed (21 per game) and twenty-first in yards (373.5 per game). Most impressively, the defense has forced eight turnovers which ranks first (!) in the NFL. If Gregg Williams’ group can maintain that intensity and disruptiveness, then it may help make up for the offense’s slow going.

When the schedule came out this spring I scanned the opponents and venues and this Thursday night tilt immediately jumped out as a winnable game. For the first time in a long time, the Browns are favored, the crowd should be jazzed, the club is at home, and a national television audience will be watching. The Browns could absolutely win this game. Maybe this time they even will.