Fans are getting ready to make their NFL Week 3 picks, and the action kicks off on Thursday night with the 1-1 New York Jets traveling to the FirstEnergy Stadium to take on the 0-1-1 Cleveland Browns — and their dog pound. The Cleveland Browns saw a tie in NFL Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, breaking their abysmal loss streak but failing to win the game, thanks to some errant kicks. In NFL Week 2, the Browns were well on their way to an impressive victory against the New Orleans Saints, but once again thanks to some wayward kicks, the Browns lost the game 18-21.
In NFL Week 1, the New York Jets went to Detroit and mopped up the Lions in a 48-17 blowout. In NFL Week 2, the Jets lost their home opener to the Miami Dolphins by a narrow margin of 20-12. The Jets and the Browns have played each other a total of 25 times, and Cleveland leads the series 13-12.
The New Cleveland Browns
The Browns haven’t seen a victory since Christmas Eve of 2016. While that may look discouraging — and it’s certainly been a tough road for the Browns and their fans — all hope is not lost. Though they have not found a victory this NFL season, Cleveland proved in their first two games that they are a new team and should be taken seriously. Last year, if you told most football experts that the Browns would give both the Saints and the Steelers a run for their money, you would have been laughed at. However, a lot has happened since last year — Cleveland having changed over 60 percent of their roster.
The kicking issues for the Browns may have been solved, as they recently acquired Greg Joseph, a rookie who spent his preseason with the Dolphins. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor has a 52.9 percent completion rate with 443 yards for two touchdowns and two interceptions. Carlos Hyde leads the ground game for the Browns with 105 yards and two touchdowns, and Cleveland is averaging 135 running yards per contest.
Wide receiver Jarvis Landry is listed as questionable this week but is expected to play. Adding to the Browns’ offensive weaponry is Antonio Callaway, and he looks ready! Callaway didn’t see much action during Week 1, but against the Saints, he saw three receptions for 81 yards and one incredible touchdown.
"Just seeing the passion they have behind this team and their players is something that is second to none."— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) September 20, 2018
12 questions for Jarvis Landry, who’s as hungry as anyone for a long-awaited victory » https://t.co/4vzS24UtCY pic.twitter.com/brkxlUD4he
The Browns drafted Callaway to replace Josh Gordon, and he looks to be doing just that. To tie up the Saints at 18, Callaway showed his speed and raced to the end zone to catch a perfectly-thrown ball by Taylor. At first, it looked like the ball was overthrown, but with lightening-like speed, Antonio proved that this wasn’t the case. Browns coach Hue Jackson expressed his excitement about the phenomenal speed and catch by Antonio Callaway, as Cleveland.com reported.
“I did [rewatch it] about five times because each time it was like h was getting faster at the end. The burst to go get the ball was phenomenal. It was good. Obviously, it was a heck of a play. Hell of a throw and a heck of a catch.”
Tyrod Taylor finds Antonio Callaway for SIX! ???? pic.twitter.com/BCWPGQ7PWL— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) September 16, 2018
On the defensive side of the ball, T.J. Carrie led the Browns last week with 8 tackles and one sack. Denzel Ward saw seven tackles, and Terrance Mitchell got five. Cleveland’s defense is swift and talented, and they rank 20th in yards allowed.
Which Jets Team Will Show Up?
In NFL Week 1, the Jets did everything right in their convincing victory against Detroit, though the Lions losing in such fashion is something that many pundits are expecting this season. In Week 2 — in contrast to their impressive defense — the Jets seemingly did everything wrong on the offensive side of the ball in their home opener. In their loss against the Dolphins, rookie quarterback Sam Darnold saw 334 yards for one touchdown and two interceptions.
The Jets had an unproductive run report during NFL Week 2, Isaiah Crowell leading with 12 carries for 35 yards. Wide receiver Quincy Enunwa led last week with seven receptions for 92 yards. Bilal Powell had five receptions for 74 yards and one touchdown.
Defensively, Buster Skrine managed seven tackles against the Dolphins. Jamal Adams, Brandon Copeland, Henry Anderson, and Jordan Jenkins all got one sack each. With a defense that managed four sacks — and two other sacks that were invalid because of penalties — the Jets offense managed to make some huge errors in order to lose the game. Many pundits expect that to be a trend until Darnold finds his stride.
Odds & Picks For Browns vs. Jets
Because it’s early in the season and it’s had to predict which Jets team we’re going to see on Thursday night, many NFL experts are suggesting to leave this one alone as far as the books are concerned. However, most money seems to be backing Cleveland. As of the time of this writing, the Browns are favored by -3. While it may not be too comfortable backing the Browns, this is a different team that’s performing consistently.
Sam Darnold is learning on the fly in his NFL rookie year, and many pundits feel that he is producing a number of throws that are begging to be picked off. The Browns defense won’t likely be passing up those opportunities. Despite not finding the W, the Browns had two consistent and impressive outings this season against two solid teams, and many experts expect Cleveland to finally find their long sought-after victory on Thursday night.
The NFL Week 3 game between the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets airs on Thursday night on the NFL Network at 8:20 p.m. EST.