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New York Jets vs. Cleveland Browns
Betting Line: Jets -3 -115 o/u 38
John J. Raspanti
Who are the Cleveland Browns? A few weeks ago, they defeated the Super Bowl Champion Saints handily, and last weekend hammered the New England Patriots 34-14. Who are these guys? The Browns (3-5) are led by a hodgepodge defense that's ranked 20th in the league, and a rookie quarterback whose name sounds like he stepped out of a 1950's western.
Colt McCoy has been effective in his three starts completing 67 percent of
his passes and only turning the ball over a couple of times. As well as McCoy
has done, it's still possible that coach Eric Mangini might go with Seneca
Wallace as his play caller. Wallace played pretty well until he injured his
ankle. Coaches are reluctant to mess with success so look for McCoy to start
against the Jets tough defense. Third year running back Peyton Hillis has also
surprised many with his play. Hillis gained 184 yards last week against the
Patriots, and for the season has racked up 644 hard-earned yards. Benjamin
Watson is the leading receiver for the Brownies with 31 catches, followed close
by the versatile Hillis, who has 30. Chansi Stuckey has grabbed 23 passes while
tight end Evan Moore has averaged over twenty yards a catch. The Browns defense,
led by jets coach Rex Ryan's twin brother Rob, has been opportunistic and stingy
against the run. T.J. Ward has recorded 67 tackles, while outside linebacker
Scott Fujita has 50 plus three and a half sacks.
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The Jets (6-2) feel like they dodged one last week against the improving Lions. Detroit had the game in the bag until coach Jim Schwartz decided to pass the ball with less then a minute to go in regulation. The extra time gave the Jets (with no timeouts) just enough time to set-up a game tying field goal. In overtime another field goal won the game. Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez has been struggling lately but last week did play pretty well. Sanchez has completed 53 percent of his passes with 10 touchdowns. Forever young running back Ladainian Tomlinson has gained 599 yards. Wide receiver Dustin Keller has caught 30 passes while Braylon Edwards has grabbed 25. Santonio Holmes is beginning to flash his big play capability after his four game suspension. The Jets are ranked sixth in the NFL defensively. Inside linebacker David Harris has 57 tackles, while strong safety Jim Leonhard has chipped in with 46. The Jet defense has played well all season. If they do have a defensive weakness, it's through the air.
The line on this game has the Jets favored by a field goal, in most cases, laying a little extra juice. Our numbers have these two teams relatively even. We'd make the game pick, maybe even Cleveland by 1 or 2. However, at this stage, we feel the Jets are a little further along than the Browns. The Browns look to be finally headed in the right direction but there figures to be a few more bumps along the way. While their win over the Pats is impressive, let's not forget that the Patriots aren't exactly a defensive juggernaut this year. The Browns have not fared well against good defenses this year, such as the Ravens, Steelers and Falcons. We'll lay the field goal here in a close one. Jets -3 -115