The Browns got the job done in Carolina 26-24, albeit in more dramatic fashion than we would have liked, and have a chance to get to 2-0 in front of the best fans in the NFL. Let's look at how the Browns can usher in the Brownie on the field era with a big win on Sunday.
1. Win the Turnover Battle
The Browns are the better team on paper and the better team typically wins in the NFL when they take care of the football and come out on top, or neutral, in the turnover battle. In Week 1, the Browns were plus one in the turnover differential and ended up with the victory, which has absolutely been a trend in the Kevin Stefanski era. In fact, the Browns are 18-3 all time under Stefanski when they either win or tie the turnover differential. As a quick side note, the Jets gave the ball away twice against the Ravens, finished -1 in the turnover differential and lost the game. If the Browns take care of the ball on offense and take it away on defense, we might have a more relaxing victory at First Energy Stadium.
Check out photos of players and coaches working to prepare for the teams regular season game against the New York Jets Sunday
2. Get After Joe Flacco
In Week 1, the Browns harassed quarterback Baker Mayfield all day long en route to four sacks, six quarterback hits and 19 total pressures. If they can take advantage of rookie fourth round RT Max Mitchell and dinged up veteran LT George Fant, Myles Garrett (two sacks shy of the Browns Franchise sack record), Clowney and the rest of the Browns pass rushers could have a field day against Joe Flacco. Flacco is in his 15th season, and at no point in his career was he known for his mobility and escapability in the pocket.
In Week 1, Flacco completed 80 percent of his passes from a clean pocket while averaging 7.0 yards per attempt and posting a quarterback rating of 92. When under duress, Flacco completed just 26 percent of his passes while averaging a paltry 2.3 yards per attempt and earning a quarterback rating of just 39.6. Flacco was sacked three times last Sunday (another two were erased by penalties), he was hit another 11 times, which was second most in the NFL, and was pressured on 22 of his drop backs. The Browns need to be stout on the early downs and put Flacco in obvious passing situations. Then they can pin their ears back and get after Flacco, which should lead to sacks, incompletions and hopefully some turnovers.
3. Improved efficiency in the passing game
Last week, the Browns were absolutely dominant on the ground as they amassed 217 yards and a touchdown against the Panthers typically stout front. Nick Chubb led the way with 141 yards on 6.4 yards per carry and Kareem Hunt chipped in 46 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries of his own. There is no doubt in my mind that priority No. 1 for the Jets will be to slow down the Browns elite running attack. The Jets sold out to stop the run of the Ravens in Week 1 and it worked, limiting Baltimore to just 63 yards on the ground, their lowest output ever with Lamar Jackson at quarterback. The Ravens however were able to capitalize on the heavy boxes of the Jets by hitting big plays in the passing game, including a 55-yard touchdown strike, that saw Jackson throw for three scores in the Baltimore win.
The Browns will have the chance to take some shots down the field, as they did against Carolina, but this week quarterback Jacoby Brissett has to be a little sharper on these chunk play opportunities. Hitting those shot plays will lead directly to points and force the Jets to pick their poison on defense, which should create more room for Chubb and Hunt to do what they do best. Pay particular attention to the Browns play action game. In Week 1, Brissett was just one of five on play action passes for one yard and a touchdown on the goal line pass to Hunt. Play action shots and chunk plays are a huge part of what makes this offense successful, explosive and dangerous to defend so look for the Browns to really make a concerted effort to be better here. Keep in mind that 114 of Lamar Jackson's 213 passing yards, as well as one of his touchdowns, against the Jets came on nine play action completions. A more productive and efficient passing game, especially in the play action game, should lead to more points on the board and a comfortable win on Sunday.