Browns vs Jets Game Preview: Thursday 8:20 PM 12/28/23

December 28, 2023

Andy Billman Tony Camino

Week 17 Game Breakdown and Picks


1 – Playoffs 

A win on Thursday guarantees the Browns a playoff birth but a 5th seed as well.  QB Joe Flacco will be looking for his fourth straight game of three hundred yards plus.  Flacco will also be facing his old club, the NY Jets.  

The Jets will have Trevor Siemian at quarterback, making his third season start.

2 – Special Teams

Special teams will be one area to watch on Thursday night as the Browns will have a new placekicker, Riley Patterson, as Dustin Hopkins is out with a pulled hamstring.  Cleveland will also have a new punter in Matt Haack, replacing Corey Bojorquez.  Bojorquez is listed as doubtful, but it is expected it will be Haack punting.

3 – Injuries

The injury report got some breaks as the offensive line will have Joel Bitonio and Ethan Pocic starting, and Juan Thornhill is listed as questionable, which is the best news for him in weeks.

The one worrisome area is at wide receiver, as Amari Cooper and Marquise Goodwin are listed as questionable for the game.  Both are expected to play.

Overall 

The Browns come into this game as heavy favorites, as the Jets have one of the worst offenses in football.  However, New York can play defense, so the Browns need to protect the ball from turnovers, as that is one area the Jets will look to exploit.

Look for a big game from the defensive line, especially Myles Garrett.

Browns win, Browns win! Cleveland 24-10, give the 7.5.


Cleveland Browns Notes

Week 17 presents numerous playoff scenarios, but for Cleveland, only one outcome matters: winning their home game against the Jets to secure a playoff berth. Cleveland’s unexpected journey has featured three different starting quarterbacks, with veteran Joe Flacco guiding them to a three-game winning streak against the Jaguars, Bears, and Texans. Following this pivotal game, they face one more challenge on the road against Cincinnati. In their recent victory over Houston, Amari Cooper showcased his prowess, amassing an impressive 265 receiving yards and scoring two touchdowns.

Flacco has assumed control of the offense, consistently throwing for over 300 yards in the last three games, with a peak of 374 against Chicago. Adopting a somewhat gunslinger mentality, he boasts a 10-7 TD-INT ratio over the past four games. Despite Jerome Ford’s status as Cleveland’s top back this season, averaging 49.5 yards per game with four touchdowns, the team has leaned more towards passing with Flacco. Ford failed to surpass 30 rushing yards in the last two games. Amari Cooper, ranking 6th in the NFL in receiving yards, averages 83.3 yards per game with five touchdowns. His connection with Flacco has been evident, with 265 yards in the last game and 109 in the preceding one. Tight end David Njoku contributes 49.9 yards per game and leads the team with six receiving touchdowns, while Elijah Moore, the second receiver, adds 38.6 receiving yards per game with one touchdown.

Cleveland’s scoring offense ranks 10th in the league at 23.0 points per game, and their defense holds the 12th position, allowing 20.7 points per game. Despite the 12th rank in scoring defense, they lead in yards allowed, conceding only 260.3 yards per game. Linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah leads the team with 90 tackles and defensive end Myles Garrett tops the sack chart with 13. Cornerback Martin Emerson Jr leads in interceptions with four. The Browns’ defense has secured 25 takeaways, while their offense has turned the ball over 32 times.


NY Jets Notes

The 2023 chapter of Aaron Rodgers has officially concluded, as the team finds itself out of playoff contention, and it’s now confirmed that Rodgers won’t return this season. Although this resolution was widely anticipated, it has now been officially declared. Head coach Robert Saleh acknowledged that improvements could have been made after Rodgers went down, stating, “Could we have done things better? I’m talking about myself and the coaching staff, about, ‘All right, this is our worst-case scenario, now what?’ Absolutely, and it’s something that we will make sure that we do a heck of a lot better within 2024.”

The Jets are still awaiting updates from the doctors regarding Zach Wilson’s recovery from a concussion. If Wilson is unable to play, Trevor Siemian will take the field for his second consecutive start. Siemian, a 31-year-old veteran who has played for four different NFL teams, posted a 27-49 record for 217 yards last week with a 1-1 TD-INT ratio. In a standout performance, Breece Hall rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns while also adding 96 receiving yards. Hall leads the team in rushing on the season with an average of 48.8 yards per game and four touchdowns. Garrett Wilson is the top receiver, likely to surpass 1,000 yards this season, averaging 63.9 yards per game with three touchdowns. Tight end Tyler Conklin, with 54 receptions, surprisingly has not scored yet, averaging 37.3 yards per game.

The Jets currently rank 30th in the NFL in scoring, averaging 15.4 points per game, while their defense is 14th, allowing 21.0 points per game. Linebacker CJ Mosely leads the team in tackles with 136, closely followed by fellow linebacker Quincy Williams with 124. Bryce Huff tops the team with eight sacks, and safety Jordan Whitehead leads in sacks with four. The Jets struggle with turnover differentials, having 22 takeaways on defense but suffering 30 offensive turnovers, marking one of the league’s worst differentials.


Tony Camino’s Best Bets for Browns vs. Jets – Week 17

With just two more games left for the Browns, they have the opportunity to secure a playoff berth with a win in Week 17. Joe Flacco continued to soar over his passing attempts line last week, and David Njoku covered his reception line, resulting in a successful 2-0 day. We now stand at 16-2 over the last nine games of the season and aim to maintain this momentum on Thursday Night Football. Here are two promising bets for the Browns vs. Jets matchup in Week 17.

Joe Flacco Over 36.5 Passing Attempts (-110)

Joe Flacco has covered this line in all four starts with the Browns this year, throwing at least 42 times in every game, including a blowout in Week 16. The Browns’ depleted offensive line has led them to struggle tremendously on the ground, resulting in more reliance on short passes to create favorable situations. Even dating back to his days with the Jets last year, he’s surpassed this line in eight of the last nine games and nine of the last 12 as a favorite.

The Jets are allowing just 30.9 passing attempts per game, which ranks fifth fewest in the NFL. While their pass defense ranks third in DVOA, this number is even more inflated because teams often play from ahead against the Jets. Dak Prescott, Josh Allen, and Jalen Hurts are the only quarterbacks to cover this line against the Jets this year, but no teams have faced injuries up front like the Browns have. The weather looks solid in Cleveland, and the Browns will likely continue to lean on the veteran signal-caller.

Recap

As the Browns head into their final home regular-season game of the year, they have the opportunity to finish with an impressive 8-1 record at Cleveland Browns Stadium while securing a playoff spot and the number five seed in the AFC. The Jets’ defense is formidable, currently trailing only the Browns and Ravens in DVOA. While points are expected to be scarce, the Browns must avoid turnovers that could gift the Jets good field position, as the Jets’ offense may struggle to score consistently with a long field. If the Browns can minimize self-inflicted mistakes, they will leave tonight with a guaranteed spot in the postseason.

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