New York Jets vs. Cleveland Browns: Storylines, Keys and Fantasy Impact
Believe it or not, it's time to begin the second half of the NFL season.
The Jets went 6-2 in their first eight games, and now have a goal of winning a division and hosting a playoff game.
The Jets are technically in first place in the AFC East, as they have the same record as the Patriots but have a win over them. The Patriots allowed the Jets to regain the division lead by losing last week to the Cleveland Browns and coincidentally, that's who the Jets face next.
These don't look like your same old Browns or at least not over the past two weeks. The Browns beat the defending Super Bowl champion Saints before beating the always dangerous Patriots.
There are a bunch of storylines heading into this game, so let's take a look at those, along with keys to victory for each team and the game's fantasy impact.
Storyline: Eric Mangini
Eric Mangini Seeks Revenge Against Former Team
For three seasons as Jets head coach, Eric Mangini was always criticized for every move he made. He wasn't popular with the fan base and was considered stiff in many ways. His press conferences were boring and the team didn't have an outstanding record in his tenure.
He was the Jets head coach from 2006-2008, posting a 23-25 record, along with losing his only playoff game to the Patriots.
In 2008, Brett Favre came to town and after an 8-3 start, the Jets lost four of their last five games to miss the playoffs.
He was let go after 2008 and will now seek revenge in his first game against them since his departure.
Storyline: Rex and Rob Ryan
Twin Ryan Brothers Face Each Other
It's not too often that you get a matchup featuring brothers facing one another. It's even less often that they're twins. That's the case in this game as Jets head coach Rex Ryan will face Browns defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.
Rob Ryan was the defensive coordinator of the Oakland Raiders for five seasons from 2004-2008 and came to Cleveland with Mangini last season.
While Rob Ryan was with Oakland and Rex was the Ravens' defensive coordinator, Rex got the best of his brother twice in as many attempts. The Jets hope their coach's undefeated streak remains alive this week.
Storyline: Braylon Edwards
Braylon Edwards Returns to Cleveland
After being drafted third overall by the Browns in 2005, Braylon Edwards will be facing them for the first time ever. Edwards spent four-plus seasons in Cleveland and had one monster season overshadowed by off-the-field problems and even on-the-field problems.
His huge year came in 2007 when he caught 80 passes for 1,289 yards and 16 touchdowns. He went to his only Pro Bowl to date and it made him a well-known player.
He did, though, have many problems catching the football cleanly and along with some off-the-field issues, the Browns had enough in mid-2009.
The final straw was in October of last season. He was accused of punching a friend of LeBron James in the face at 2:30 in the morning and he was traded to the Jets two days later.
Now, he makes his return to Cleveland and has already stated that he wants to prove something to their fans. It'll be interesting to hear the reception he gets from the crowd and to see how many receptions he makes.
Keys to a Jets Victory
What the Jets Need to do to Win
It's pretty obvious that after the first five games of the season, LaDainian Tomlinson has lost a step. Perhaps that's the reason behind the Chargers parting ways with their Hall of Fame running back.
Tomlinson had looked like he was silencing critics early on, but he's only rushed for 164 yards total over his last three games. 55, 54 and 55 respectively, which is a sign that he's gotten tired. Even the bye week the Jets had two weeks ago didn't help as planned.
Therefore, against a Browns defense in the middle of the pack at stopping the run, the Jets have to use more of Shonn Greene instead. Maybe even start the game with him over Tomlinson.
The Jets have been more of a passing team recently and the Browns are 25th in the league against the pass. The primary receiver for Sanchez should be Braylon Edwards. He made a great play in Sunday's win over the Lions and has a lot of motivation facing his former team.
On the defensive side, the Jets better watch out for running back Peyton Hillis. He broke down the Patriots defense for 184 yards in Sunday's Browns win.
Keys to a Browns Victory
What the Browns Need to do to Win
The Jets have become more of a passing team and now that their primary running back LaDainian Tomlinson is slowing down, they'll stick to the pass. The Browns are only 25th in the league against the pass and that's not good.
Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is coming off a career-high game in passing yards when he threw for 336 against the Lions on Sunday.
That means that there's only one thing the Browns can do. Make sure the defense doesn't allow Tomlinson to have a rebound game. If so, it's all over. In their win over the Patriots, they only allowed Danny Woodhead to rush for 54 yards as the leading rusher.
This would also be a good game to allow Peyton Hillis to carry the ball 30 times again. Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis played his best game on Sunday, seemingly fully recovered from his nagging hamstring injury. The Browns are only 25th in passing and they won't be successful doing so against a great Jets secondary.
They need to stop the run and run the ball themselves to have a shot at winning this game.
Jets Fantasy Impact
Jets Fantasy Impact
Who to Start on the Jets: Santonio Holmes
Wide receiver Santonio Holmes had his best game as a Jet on Sunday, going for 114 receiving yards. After a four-game suspension to start the season, Holmes looks ready to roll and against a bad Browns pass defense, it would be smart to start him.
Who to Sit on the Jets: LaDainian Tomlinson
As previously stated, LaDainian Tomlinson has had a rough go of it over the past three weeks. He's not rushing for as many yards and the Jets are not going to allow him to gain the yardage as they become more of a pass-first team. Shonn Greene may get more carries than him and it'll be hard for Tomlinson to pile up enough stats.
Sleeper on the Jets: Dustin Keller
After a great start to his season, Dustin Keller has seen his receptions drop. Mark Sanchez has gone to Holmes and Edwards more of late, but this is a game that can see every receiver make big plays. Keller could end up having a huge impact in this game.
Browns Fantasy Impact
Browns Fantasy Impact
Who to Start on the Browns: Colt McCoy
It's time to start taking Colt McCoy seriously. He had a big game earlier in the season in a loss to the Steelers and did a good job against the Patriots. The Jets aren't terrific against the pass and have the tendency of giving up big yardage to opposing quarterbacks. The Browns don't have any great receivers but McCoy has the potential of having a 200-plus yard game.
Who to Sit on the Browns: Peyton Hillis
Hillis had a fantastic game against the Patriots and everyone is excited. He may have a good game against the Jets as well, but in the fantasy world, you should sit him this week. The Jets are fourth in the league against the run and it isn't likely that Hillis will rush for 184 yards in this game. If you're looking for a huge statistical game out of a running back this week, Hillis is not the guy to take.
Sleeper on the Browns: Mohamed Massaquoi
It's not likely that the Browns will have a huge receiver in this game as they don't have any big play makers, but if anyone will have a big game, it's Mohamed Massaquoi. He was the Browns' leading receiver on Sunday, going for 58 yards. It's always the guys you least expect on a team to have the biggest games.
Who Will Win The Game?
After all of the storylines have played out and you find out how your fantasy team did, who will win this game? Will the Jets roll to 7-2 or will the Browns win a third straight game against another great team?
Unfortunately for Browns fans, your luck will run out. The Jets have more talent than the Patriots and aren't going to want to lose on the road to a bad team after eking out last week's victory.
Look for Mark Sanchez to have another strong game and for the Jets to run the ball a little more. The Jets will make sure Colt McCoy is shut down with their secondary of Revis and Antonio Cromartie and at the end, they'll pull out a rather easy victory.
Final Score: Jets 27, Browns 13