Sunday, December 22, 2013

Week 16 picks: Browns at Jets

Publisher Nick St. Denis, associate editor Dan Begnoche and senior contributor Sean Donovan pick the New York Jets' AFC bout with the Cleveland Browns.

Nick's take:
The Jets no longer have anything to play for from a playoff perspective, but if there's one thing Rex Ryan is good for, it's motivation. New York, as usual, will have no problem shutting down the run but will be very wary of the dangerous receiver Josh Gordon. Only two teams are giving up more passing plays of 40 yards or more than the Jets, and Gordon is averaging nearly 20 yards a reception with nine touchdowns to boot. Antonio Cromartie will have his hands full, but the Jets out-will the Browns.
Prediction: Jets 20, Browns 17

Sean's take:
With all roads to the playoffs now closed, the remainder of the season amounts to little more than an audition for the future for many Jets players and coaches. Spotlighted are quarterback Geno Smith, who has a chance to instill some organizational hope in him against a well-coached, talented defense, and Rex Ryan, who will likely need his team to finish out the season strong to ensure a 2014 return. The Browns are stocked with talent, particularly at receiver and tight end, and put the pressure on Smith to keep up on the scoreboard. The rookie falls short and the temperature of Ryan's seat rises some more.
Prediction: Browns 27, Jets 17

Dan's take:
Cleveland's defensive front has been either off or on this season, but the same can be said the Gang Green offense. At its best, the Browns' pass defense is one of the strongest in the league. The same can be said for the Jets' defensive front, which has held rushing attacks to less than 85 yards a game. The key here are the secondaries, where a Browns squad is allowing a QB rating of almost 10 points less and, as a team, they've tallied nine more takeaways. With the playoffs out of the picture, this becomes a hard-nosed, gut-check battle on both sides of the field.
Prediction: Browns 20, Jets 10