Don’t count the chickens before they hatch, but the New York Jets might be able to find a way to .500 by the time their bye week rolls around.
Last week’s 24-16 win over the Baltimore Ravens ended a four-game slide and moved Gang Green to 2-5 entering the softest stretch on their schedule.
And the slate will offer no softer a matchup than a visit to the 0-7 Cleveland Browns, the only team in the city that definitely will not be on the cusp of a championship within the next 12 months, on Sunday afternoon.
Beyond the Browns’ pathetic win-loss record, here are three more reasons for Jets fans to be excited entering the weekend.
Think the Jets’ quarterback situation has been ugly? Take a look at the Browns.
Through seven games, six players have thrown passes thanks to a rash of injuries at the position. Rookie Cody Kessler, the most successful and most recent starter, has a concussion. That opens the door for Josh McCown possibly to take over as he moves on from a fractured collarbone suffered earlier this year.
At this point, who can say with confidence that a Cleveland QB will even make it through four quarters, let alone lead the team to its first victory?
Swiss cheese defense
The Browns are getting torched through the air this season. They’re tied last in defensive yards per pass attempt and passing touchdowns.
As referenced earlier, Ryan Fitzpatrick has had some awful games this year, but he was the AFC Offensive Player of the Week in mid-September and, apparently, plays better when he’s angry.
They’re not much better at stopping the run, tied for fourth-worst in yards per carry allowed. Expect great things from Jets running back Matt Forte.
The biggest threat Cleveland presents is running back Isaiah Crowell, who’s tied for fourth in yards per carry.
While his numbers aren’t a mirage, they’re a bit misleading. Remove an impressive 85-yard touchdown run against the Miami Dolphins from his record, and his rushing average drops from 5.2 to 4.3 on all other plays. That’s solid, but not outstanding.
Crowell’s next-longest run was for 25 yards, so he’s not a major home run threat. The Jets are No. 2 in yards per carry allowed, so they should be able to hold him in check.