The star-studded Browns insist their confidence wasn’t shaken by the embarrassing 43-13 Week 1 loss to the Titans. That’s great, but it wouldn’t hurt them to pick up a little bit of humility. The playoffs aren’t guaranteed to anyone, with maximum effort and laser-life focus demanded to reach them.
The Browns have more talent than the Jets. They have more playmakers on both sides of the ball. They have the clear quarterback edge with Trevor Siemian stepping in for Sam Darnold (mono) for New York.
They just need to prove it by bringing home a win.
The Jets will be hyped up for the prime-time matchup, especially with defensive coordinator Gregg Williams looking for revenge after spending two years in Cleveland and receiver Odell Beckham Jr. questioning his character last week. The Jets hired a new coach in Adam Gase, added big-money talent in the offseason and entered the year with playoff goals.
The Browns must do two things to keep the game from going sideways: protect Baker Mayfield and stop Le’Veon Bell.
If Mayfield feels comfortable in the pocket and gets the ball out in rhythm, the offense should be able to put up enough points. If the defense can keep Bell, the versatile Jets running back, from turning handoffs and screens into long gains and touchdowns, it will be in good shape. The New York offense shouldn’t be able to explode otherwise.
THE PICK: If there can be a must-win situation in Week 2, this is it for the Browns. It won’t be easy, but they play better than they did in the opener and get it done. Browns 24, Jets 20.