By Tom Kiss
It’s the battle of the small-town Oregon boys this week as the Jets and Kellen Clemens take on the surprising 7-5 Cleveland Browns led by equally surprising quarterback Derek Anderson. Anderson, drafted by the Ravens in the 6th round in 2005, got his first start this year in week two against the Bengals and hasn’t looked back since. He has thrown 24 touchdowns with 13 picks and has led the Browns into a surprising playoff push. Anderson and Clemens played against each other in high school, college (Clemens at Oregon, Anderson at Oregon St.), and will now face off for the first time at the pro level. This will not be a flashy game that will grab the attention of many outside of the tri-state area and Cleveland, but it should be a well played game that ends close.
When the Jets have the ball:
Thomas Jones finally got a touchdown (the gettin grizzly fantasy squad thanks you) and he and the Jets will look to build off of last weeks 40-13 win in Miami. Believe it or not, at 7-5 the Browns give up the most yards per game in the NFL at 389.9 ypg. The Browns defense has been equally awful against the run and pass and the Jets could be able to put some more points on the board this week. Expect a similar steady dose of Jones and Leon Washington that we saw last week. The Jets have the chance to be successful on the ground, which would really help out Clemens.
The Jet passing game looked pretty good last week, with Brad Smith and Wallace Wright getting more playing time due to the finger surgery on Jerricho Cotchery. Clemens looked like he totally forgot about the abysmal Thanksgiving game against the Cowboys. Against a suspect Browns defensive backfield, expect the Jets to have some success in the air this week.
When the Browns have the ball:
This is the side of the ball that gives the Browns a chance to win week in and week out. Derek Anderson has been stellar and a couple of young weapons are really starting to progress. Braylon Edwards, the third year wide receiver out of Michigan, has already set career highs with 62 catches for 1043 yards and 12 touchdowns. Kellen Winslow, the tight end out of Miami, has 65 catches, 909 yards and 5 touchdowns. Those two players have really been the key to the Browns success as they are both blossoming into stars at the same time. Jamal Lewis has done the dirty work for the Browns, running the ball effectively most days, which has taken pressure off the young quarterback.
The Jet defense will certainly have its hands full again this week. David Harris will look to neutralize the Browns running game while the Jet defensive line will try and harass Anderson into as many mistakes as possible, a tall task. The Jets will need the running game to be minimal for Cleveland, otherwise Edwards and Winslow may be able to run wild in the defensive backfield,
Match-up of the game: Braylon Edwards vs. Darrelle Revis
Revis and Edwards will most likely see each other all day, something the third year receiver may enjoy. Revis will be working very hard this week, and the Jets will need him to play well to have a shot in this one.
NYJ 27 – CLE 24