Featured Video from Scott Reichel
When and where: September 16, 2019, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ, 8:15 PM ET
The Cleveland Browns hope to rebound from an ugly season opener on Monday against the struggling New York Jets. So much for the preseason hype surrounding the star-studded Browns roster. Instead of being the hammer, they were treated like the nail by the Tennessee Titans on their home field in a 43-13 Week 1 loss.
Things weren’t any better for the Jets, either.
They couldn’t even knock off an undermanned Buffalo Bills team at home. Not to mention All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell, the team’s biggest acquisition in the offseason, was held to only 60 yards on 17 carries. Yet, even that letdown performance pales in comparison to Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield throwing three interceptions and getting sacked five times against the Titans.
Celebration gets crashed for the Browns
The offseason hype has officially ended for the Browns.
A fateful meeting with the criminally underrated Titans ended in complete embarrassment for a team some boldly proclaimed as Super Bowl favorites. It was also proof that winning in the NFL is much more than just assembling one of the league’s most talented rosters. Getting blown out of their own building isn’t enough to completely bury their playoff hopes, but it was enough to get people to pump the brakes on the ridiculous proclamations.
If I were a soothsayer, however, I’d predict they’ll have a much better time facing the Jets mistake-stricken defense than they had against the Titans. Monday’s game should give Mayfield a chance to settle into a rhythm and build some confidence within his newly-constructed offense. It’s easy to forget this is truly his first full year as a starter in the NFL, and it’s going to take some time for him to make the necessary adjustments, especially with their being tape on him for opposing teams to dissect.
On the defensive side of the ball, there should be more opportunities for defensive end Myles Garrett and the rest of the front to get after the quarterback and disrupt the Jets’ timing. Jets quarterback Sam Darnold was sacked four times against the Buffalo Bills in Week 1, making his replacement, Trevor Siemian, a prime candidate for the piñata treatment in the pocket by the Browns’ pass rushers.
Jets failed to answer the Bell
All of the talk in the offseason surrounded the Jets signing Bell to a four-year deal. Well, the same offensive line that struggled to keep Darnold upright also failed to open up many holes for the All-Pro running back. Bell is a transcendental talent on the football field, but he also isn’t capable of running through a brick wall, either.
The Jets have to win the fight in the trenches before they have any hope of eradicating the losing culture. On Thursday, it was reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Sam Darnold would miss Monday’s game against the Browns after being diagnosed with mononucleosis. Trevor Siemian is now expected to be the starter with Luke Falk serving as the backup.
The team could also be without Bell, who is undergoing an MRI for a shoulder injury.
After a strong start early against the Titans, the Browns quickly fell apart on defense in their season opener, which is something the Jets should take note of heading into the game. They would do well to pound the football and take what the defense gives them without getting overly frustrated if they can’t move the ball early. The blueprint is out on the Browns, and it doesn’t look like they’re a team capable of going wire-to-wire for 60 minutes. They were outscored 31-7 by the Titans in the second half.
The Jets defensive secondary was also opportunistic in snatching two interceptions from Bills’ quarterback Josh Allen. They will undoubtedly have at least one or two opportunities to do the same to Mayfield on Monday, and they’ll have to be ready to take advantage when those moments come.
- Jets are 0-5-1 ATS in their last 6 home games.
- Jets are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 home games against a team with a losing road record.
- Jets are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing more than 350 total yards in the previous game.
- Jets are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games in September.
- Browns are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games following an ATS loss.
- Browns are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up loss of more than 14 points.
- Favorite is 9-0 ATS in their last 9 head-to-head meetings.
Updated on Sep 16 at 9:20am EDT
Update prepared by our editoral staff
Public Money / Line Movements
The Browns have gone from -2.5 point favorites up to 6.5 point favorites and they have grabbed 77% of the bets.
Most of the reason for that is because Trevor Siemian is in there for the Jets instead of Sam Darnold.
Injury / Weather Report
Cleveland’s Injury Report
Questionable: Backup QB Drew Stanton, WR Rashard Higgins, and OG Joel Bitonio.
Out: SS Damarious Randall, LB Adarius Taylor, OT Kendall Lamm, and RB Dontrell Hilliard
New York’s Injury Report
Questionable: OG Brian Winters, DT Steve McLendon, OG Alex Lewis, WR Braxton Berrios, RB Le’Veon Bell, OT Kelvin Beachum, and WR Demaryius Thomas.
Out: TE Isaiah Searight, LB C.J. Mosley, and Starting QB Sam Darnold.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Just as quickly as Browns fans were ready to pull out the old paper sack masks, Jets fans were ready to do the same. Not to diminish the ugliness from the Browns’ loss, but the Titans are considered by most in the media as legitimate playoff contenders. That thought was simply swallowed up by all of the premature hype emanating from the Browns organization.
The same can’t be said about the Bills.
Even with Bell in the offensive backfield, assuming he even plays, the offensive line struggles are a serious concern heading into this game against a team with game-breaking talent on the defensive front. Sure, the Browns offensive line didn’t look great last week either, and Mayfield was on the ground long enough to make snow angels in the turf.
But he still has far more talent at the skilled positions than Siemian, who hasn’t started in an NFL game since 2017. This could be the day where we get that Odell Beckham Jr. breakout performance. The world is watching and waiting for it happen. At the very least, they’ll get a much better showing out of Mayfield when the Browns cruise to a Week 2 victory.
Prediction: Cleveland Browns (-2.5)
Full-Game Total Pick
There is too much talent on the defensive side of the ball to think the Browns will allow another offensive explosion. Siemian certainly won’t have as much time to work in the pocket as the Titans offensive line gave quarterback Marcus Mariota, who was still sacked four times. Another sluggish offensive outing from the Jets combined with serious adjustments made by the Browns will lead to the under being the winning betting total on Monday.
Prediction: Under (46)