This week’s edition of Monday Night Football features the 0-1 Cleveland Browns traveling to face the 0-1 New York Jets. In this AFC showdown, both teams will look to avoid starting the season 0-2.
Last week, the Browns fell to the Tennessee Titans by a score of 43-13. Similarly, the Jets narrowly lost to the Buffalo Bills by a score of 17-16. Now heading into Week 2, the Jets will work to overcome the loss of their starting quarterback against a hungry Cleveland team.
For Cleveland, Baker Mayfield will look to bounce back after throwing three interceptions last week. Positively for Mayfield, he still completed 65.8% of his passes and threw for 285 passing yards. This week, New York presents a softer matchup after allowing Josh Allen to pass for 181 yards in Week 1. Looking back to 2018, the Jets ranked bottom-ten in passing yards allowed to opposing signal callers.
With Sam Darnold already ruled out for Week 2, the Jets will turn to Trevor Siemian at quarterback. Last managing games for the Broncos in 2017, Siemian failed to complete even 60% of his passes, while throwing more interceptions than touchdowns. Generating four sacks and six quarterback hits in Week 1, Cleveland’s superior front seven should eat Siemian alive.
Running Back Breakdown
On the Cleveland side, Nick Chubb projects to handle a majority of Cleveland’s touches. Last week, Chubb played 70% of the Browns’ snaps and recorded 20 touches, despite negative game script. Importantly, Chubb showed the ability to play in the passing game, reeling in three of four targets. Favored by 6.5 points tonight, Chubb should see more than his 16 carries from a week ago.
On the other side, New York projects to funnel offensive production through Le’veon bell after an injury scare earlier this week. In his first game action in almost two years, Bell notched 26 touches on 100-percent of New York’s snaps. Doing most of his work in the receiving game, Bell recorded six catches for 32 yards and a score on nine targets. Unfortunately for Chubb, the Browns allowed a mere 91 yards on 22 carries against the Titans.
As it stands the Jets hold a defensive advantage according to our schedule-adjusted metrics, ranking ninth overall, while the Browns come in 22nd. However, I would caution against over-weighting a one game sample. The Browns have far superior player personnel on both the defensive line and secondary, while the Jets deal with a number of injuries to key contributors, including C.J. Mosley and Quinnen Williams.
According to our models, one game correlates with this contest over 93% of the time. This 93.07% correlation occurred between the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys on November 28th, 2002. This game resulted in a Cowboys victory by a score of 27-20, resulting in a Jets win and cover. The Cowboys represent the Jets in this situation.
Our models predict the Browns winning by a score of 25.01 to 19.29. However, our models only give the Jets a 53.22% chance of covering the spread (-6.5).