The Browns turned in a workman-like, surgical performance on Sunday Night Football to defeat the New York Giants, 20-6, on Sunday Night Football. It was an incredibly poised performance by the Browns to bounce back from a heartbreaking Monday Night loss to the Ravens and deliver such a stress-free, 10th win of the season.
With the playoff race in the AFC remaining incredibly tight, the Browns know they need to maintain their focus and secure one more victory in their second trip to MetLife Stadium in as many weeks when they take on the 1-13 New York Jets.
It has been a year to forget for the Jets, but they ended their winless season with a 23-20 road win over the playoff-bound Los Angeles Rams. The Jets avoided the ignominy of a winless season and definitely got the attention of the Browns with their commanding performance against the Rams. The Jets have played their opponents close more often than not, and while they are injury-depleted and struggling mightily on both sides of the ball, the Browns can not, and will not, take them lightly.
They just have to follow the Winning Mix to lock in lucky win No. 11.
1. Be The Browns
The Browns have been far better than the Jets in every respect and need to follow the adapted words of the philosopher poet Ty Webb and just simply, "Be the Browns." Just be the Browns who race out to quick leads and impose their will on their opponents. Be the Browns who are 9-0 when leading at halftime. Be the Browns who run the ball more effectively than any team in the league when both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are on the field. Be the Browns who have thrown for more than 300 yards and 2.5 touchdowns per game over the last four games. Be the Browns who get after the quarterback and generate turnovers on defense. Be the Browns that are laser-focused, just like their head coach Kevin Stefanski. Be the Browns who have one goal: go 1-0 this week.
Just be the 2020 Cleveland Browns.
Check out exclusive photos of the Browns preparing for their game against the New York Jets
2. More of the same from Baker Mayfield
Over the last four weeks (really since Week 7), Baker Mayfield has been playing quarterback as well as anyone in the NFL. During the last month, Mayfield is completing a blistering 70.2 percent of his passes at 8.7 yards per attempt for 308 yards per game and a quarterback rating of 117.7. Mayfield has thrown multiple touchdowns in all four of the games with 10 total passing scores and only one interception.
During this four-game streak, Mayfield has been especially dominant in two areas: play-action passing and passes of 10-plus yards in the air. On passes with play action, Mayfield leads the NFL with seven touchdowns, is third in the league with a quarterback rating of 145.3 and is fourth with a 10.4 yards per attempt average. On throws of more than 10 yards in the air, Mayfield has been simply phenomenal. He leads the NFL with seven touchdowns, is second with a rating of 150.5, third with a 68.1 completion percentage and fourth at 13.6 yards per attempt.
The Jets have the league's 30th-ranked passing defense and have allowed opposing quarterbacks to compile a rating of 104.5 this year. The Browns have won 14 straight games when Mayfield's quarterback rating is greater than 100 and will look to make it 15 in a row against a Jets defense that just lost its best player in DT Quinnen Williams.
3. Avoid big plays by the Jets passing game and get after Sam Darnold
The Jets have a couple of big-play threats in the passing game as wide receivers Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims are both big, fast and averaging more than 15.5 yards per catch this year. The Jets rank dead last in total offense, scoring offense and passing offense. If you don't give up field-changing big plays and force them to grind their way down the field, they will fail. If you don't let them score from deep, they will have to settle for field goals. After all, the Jets are also the worst red zone offense in the NFL. Last week, the Browns limited the Giants to three points total on three red zone possessions. If the Jets are able to get into the red zone this week, the Browns must force them to settle for three instead of allowing seven.
As is the case with most quarterbacks in the NFL, Sam Darnold has really struggled under pressure in 2020. When under pressure this year, Darnold is completing just 46 percent of his passes, averaging just over 5 yards per attempt, has a 2-to-1 interception to touchdown ratio and a quarterback rating of only 53.9. If the Browns follow the first point in the winning mix, it will force the Jets to try and chase points. That will mean a lot of passing from Darnold, and with Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon in playoff form, he will be under duress a lot, which should lead to sacks, turnovers and most importantly, a Browns win.