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Matchups Week 2: Jets vs. Browns

Jets vs. Browns
Sep 11, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb (24) tries to elude Carolina Panthers linebacker Cory Littleton (55) during the second half at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

New York Jets (0-1) vs. Cleveland Browns (1-0)

Spread: Browns -6.5.

Game Total: 40.5

Team Totals: Browns (23.5), Jets (17)

Weather: Outdoors, no current concerns.

The Line Report

  • This line opened as Browns -6.5.
  • This line has made a few brief stops at Browns -6 and Browns -7, but it’s mostly settled at its current consensus of Browns -6.5.
  • DraftKings Pick’Em has the Browns -5.5.
  • Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has the Browns -6.5.
  • This total opened at 40.5-points, with a few 40-point options available.
  • This total moved down to 39.5-points as of late Thursday.

Notable Injuries

Browns: CB Greedy Williams (IR), RT Jack Conklin (Questionable).

Jets: OT Mekhi Becton (IR), OT Duane Brown (IR), FB Nick Bawden (IR), QB Zach Wilson (Out), LT George Fant (Questionable), Edge John Franklin-Myers (Questionable), S Jordan Whitehead (Questionable).

The Browns Offense vs. the Jets Defense

The Jets have an underrated front that kept them in the game against the Ravens for a while. The Browns have a top-five caliber offensive line, which allowed them to run all over the Panthers on opening day. Consider this a strength-on-strength kind of matchup in the trenches.

Notes and Observations

  • The Browns are 1-0 against the spread this season.
  • The Browns are 1-0 on overs this season.
  • Per The Edge, Jacoby Brissett was 25th in play-action pass percentage on opening day.
  • Among opening day starters, Brissett was 26th in air yards per attempt.
  • We can reasonably expect the Brissett-led Browns to be on the conservative side offensively whenever they can be.
  • The Jets allowed the third-fewest rushing yards and the 17th-most receiving yards to running backs on opening day.
  • New York allowed the eighth fewest receiving yards on the second fewest receptions to wide receivers in Week 1.
  • Keep in mind that Lamar Jackson missed two very open deep post throws against the Jets on opening day. If he hit even one of them, the Jets are in the bottom ten in yards allowed to wide receivers last week.
  • New York allowed the 13th-most receiving yards and the ninth-most receptions on opening day. That solid effort came against Mark Andrews, a top-three receiving tight end in the league. 

The Jets Offense vs. the Browns Defense

Injuries have given the Jets an offensive tackle problem. At full strength, the Jets have a fringe top-ten caliber offensive line. With No. 111 overall pick Max Mitchell thrust into action at right tackle, New York’s line is more of an average-at-best unit with a weakness at RT. That’s especially problematic as New York faces elite edge Myles Garrett this week. There is no real macro trench advantage in this matchup, but Garrett poses a problem for anyone, especially a team down to their third-string offensive tackle. If LT George Fant’s questionable designation trends in the wrong direction, that would be an enormous issue for New York’s offense.

Notes and Observations

  • The Jets are 0-1 against the spread this season.
  • The Jets are 0-1 on overs this season.
  • Per The Edge, Joe Flacco was 21st in play-action pass percentage on opening day.
  • Among opening day starters, Flacco was 30th in air yards per attempt.
  • Flacco targeted running backs Michael Carter and Breece Hall an astonishing 18 times on opening day.
  • The Browns allowed the 13th fewest rushing yards and the tenth fewest receiving yards to running backs on opening day. That came against Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey.
  • Cleveland surrendered the 18th most receiving yards on the sixth-fewest receptions to wide receivers on opening day.
  • The Browns gave up the 11th most receiving yards on the tenth fewest receptions to tight ends on opening day.

I mentioned Dennis Pitta as a past example of Joe Flacco feeding tight ends considerable volume last week. Jets tight end Tyler Conklin saw 7 targets on opening day.

This is What You’re Betting On in Jets vs. Browns

A bet on the Browns is a bet on a good football team with a backup quarterback. Jacoby Brissett is among the better backup quarterbacks in the league, but Cleveland is a contender with Deshaun Watson at the controls. In their present form, the Browns are a limited offense with a top-shelf running game and a premium offensive line. The Browns are laying many points as -6.5-point home favorites, but that’s almost a necessity for sportsbooks when 37-year-old Joe Flacco is the opposing quarterback. Any kind of bet on the Browns here is a direct bet against Flacco and the Jets offense, which was very limited in the opener against Baltimore.

A bet on the Jets is a bet on another strong showing from their defensive front. If you’re betting on New York in this spot, the clearest path to a cover is a low-scoring, defensive football game where both teams deploy muddy offensive game plans. That outcome is not even remotely out of the question. The downside on a Jets bet is their quarterback conundrum paired with their offensive tackle situation. Ultimately, there is a reason the total for this game has fallen below 40 points.

Jets vs. Browns Pool Picks

Winner/ Confidence Pool: The Browns will be a near-universal pick in traditional winner pools. This slate has five greater home favorites than Cleveland, which makes the Browns either a contrarian top-five ranking in confidence pools or one that will be consistently used at the top of the middle this week in that format.

Spread Pool: I’m going to avoid this game in ATS tournaments, as I’d lean towards the Jets as +6.5 underdogs here.

Survivor: The Browns have some survivor viability in this matchup, but I’d prefer to use one of the five two-score home favorites this week instead.