On Thursday Night, the Cleveland Browns attempt to end a winless streak that has now risen to 27 games. In the first two games of the season, the Browns have played in games where they have had every chance to claim victory.
In the season opener at home, the Browns played to a 21-21 tie against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Cleveland had a chance to win the game in the final seconds of overtime, but Pittsburgh Linebacker TJ Watt blocked Zane Gonzalez’s game winning field goal attempt. Last week, Tyrod Taylor found Antonio Calloway for what was the game tying touchdown late in the fourth quarter, but Gonzalez missed the extra point and the Saints won by a field goal. In that same game, Zane also missed 3 additional kicks including 2 extra points which led to his release on Monday.
On top of the losing on the field, the team lost talented but troubled Wide Receiver Josh Gordon on Monday. He was traded to the New England Patriots for a conditional fifth round pick. His departure leaves a big hole in the big play department in Cleveland. Even though Jarvis Landry is one of the best receivers in the game, Gordon (when on the field) provided that playmaker who can turn a 15 yard catch into a long touchdown reception. Expect Calloway (who Cleveland is very high on) to step into that role, especially against a Jets secondary that could be susceptible to a big plays.
Taylor, has been extremely efficient and solid in his opening two games as he has made effective decisions both with his arm and his feet. Because he has such mobile feet in the pocket, he has been able to extend plays. When he has extra time, Taylor can make plays like this:
For the Jets, the excitement coming out of the Big Apple is due to the play of rookie Sam Darnold. The rookie Quarterback from USC has played better than expected in his opening two games of the season. After throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown on his opening pass of his NFL career, Darold settled down and led the Jets to a win in Detroit in Week 1 and threw for 332 yards on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.
Through two games, he has found that Quincy Enunwa has been his go-to receiver. He leads the Jets with 13 catches for 155 yards, including a 92 yard game on Sunday. That combination will have to be effective if they want to gain their 2nd victory of the season on Thursday Night.
3 Things To Watch
1. The Browns Defense Is For Real
In 9 quarters of play the Browns have seven sacks, three interceptions, and have forced five fumbles – all of which were recovered by Cleveland. Now after facing Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees, they get their hands on the rookie Darnold at home. Watch Myles Garrett and team leader Larry Ogunjobi get serious pressure on the rookie and if they don’t get him to the ground, Denzel Ward and the Browns secondary will have their chances to cause a few takeaways.
2. Which Receiver Will Make A Big Play?
Both teams have a potential big play threat at Wide Receiver. Robby Anderson and the aforementioned Calloway gives both teams that player who can stretch the defense. If one of those guys breaks one open, their team will have an upper hand on getting the victory. Both are sleeper fantasy football selections for Week 3 as well.
3. Have The Browns Solved Their Kicker Issue?
After Gonzalez missed 3 field goals in critical situations and was let go by the team earlier in the week they decided on another rookie kicker in Greg Joseph. The good news is it’s not Gonzalez, but the bad news is that Joseph has never attempted a kick in a regular season game in his career. This could have the potential to go either way. If the weather is bad, we could be in for another wonderful night in the Browns kicking game.
Jets 24 Browns 20
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