JETS AT BROWNS, at FIRSTENERGY STADIUM
When: 1 p.m.
TV: Ch. 5
LINE: Browns by 1
The Jets are unexpectedly riding a two-game winning streak as they head to Cleveland for a matchup with the winless Browns. Here are three keys to victory for Gang Green as it tries to move into a tie for first place in the AFC East.
Cleveland Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer
Contain DeShone Kizer in pocket
The Browns’ rookie QB, a second-round pick out of Notre Dame, has been up and down through his first four games. Kizer has not done a good job protecting the football, throwing 8 INTs and fumbling twice. But he has shown an ability to move around and outside the pocket to make plays. Tyrod Taylor ran circles around the Gang Green defense in Week 1, and while the Jets performed better against the agile Blake Bortles last week, they did allow the Jacksonville QB to escape outside for a 27-yard run at the end of the third quarter. The Jets can’t let Kizer beat them with his legs Sunday.
Create holes for Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire
With Matt Forte sitting out again due to turf toe, Powell and McGuire will once again be featured in the Jets’ rushing attack. Last week against the Jags, Powell broke off a 75-yard TD run, while the rookie McGuire followed with a 69-yard score of his own. The blocking on both plays was outstanding. Powell and McGuire formulate an explosive tandem, and fans should expect to see more long runs in the future as long as the offensive line continues open gaps. Be warned, though: The Browns boast the second-best rushing defense in the league.
Prevent big return from rookie Jabrill Peppers
Here’s how Jets special teams coordinator Brant Boyer described Peppers, the Michigan product: “He’s a game breaker. I think the guy can take it to the house on any play. He’s a vertical returner. He can break tackles. He has great vision. I really liked him coming out – you see why they have him back there on both punts and kicks. I think he’s a hell of a player.” The Jets are treating Peppers with plenty of respect, and they held a similarly dynamic returner, the Raiders’ Cordarrelle Patterson, in check in Week 2. But Peppers always has the ability to alter the complexion of a game — regardless of how much attention you give him.
JETS: DE Kony Ealy (shoulder), RB Matt Forte (toe), LB Josh Martin (ankle) and CB Darryl Roberts (hamstring) are OUT. CB Juston Burris (foot) and DE Muhammad Wilkerson (shoulder) are QUESTIONABLE.
JAGUARS: WR Kenny Britt (knee, groin) and LB Jamie Collins (concussion) are DOUBTFUL.