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Jets vs Browns Thursday Night Football Picks and Predictions

NY Jets vs Cleveland Browns NFL Week 17 Thursday Night Football game. NFL odds have the Browns as a -7.5 point favorite against the spread.

Jets vs Browns:

When: 8:15 PM ET, Thursday, December 28, 2023
Where: Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

All the New York Jets wanted in 2023 was one healthy and productive quarterback. Looking back, the Jets might wish they would have answered when Joe Flacco knocked in September.

Flacco instead played catch with his brother one hour away from the Jets’ facility and waited three more months for the Cleveland Browns to call.

And did he ever answer.

Flacco has the Browns (10-5) on the doorstep of an improbable playoff bid and gets a visit from his old team, the Jets (6-9), on Thursday night with a chance to hand-deliver a reminder of what might have been for the beleaguered New York franchise.

Beat the Jets, and the Browns can clinch a spot in the playoffs.

“We talked about it a little bit this past week. Every week you look at the game and you’re like, ‘man, it’s a big win. Another big one,'” Flacco said.

The fourth quarterback to start for the Browns this season, Flacco took over in Week 13. Since then, he leads the NFL with 1,321 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Jets have 10 total TD passes in 2023.

When New York and 30 other teams passed, Flacco said he fell right into the ideal spot with the Browns.

“You think you are coming into a good situation,” Flacco said of signing with the Browns. “There’s a possibility for this. I think you assume from the outside this is a pretty good situation. When you get here it’s an even better situation than you’ve imagined.”

The Jets expected to be in this position but with another heavily seasoned quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, at the controls. Without Rodgers, a championship-caliber defense wasn’t enough to consistently generate wins using Zach Wilson, Tim Boyle and Trevor Siemian at quarterback.

Jets head coach Robert Saleh, who interviewed to be Cleveland’s head coach in 2020 and coached Flacco in New York, isn’t surprised by Flacco steering the Browns into the playoff picture.

“I’ve said it before, he’s like a Ford pickup truck. You might not like it in the summer but in the winter months that son of a gun starts humming,” Saleh said.

Wilson will not play Thursday, according to Saleh, because of a concussion. Siemian is expected to get his second consecutive start after throwing for 217 yards and a touchdown during Sunday’s 30-28 victory over the Washington Commanders.

Running back Breece Hall is proving to be a lifeline for the Jets’ offense with 39 receptions in the past six games. Hall had 191 yards from scrimmage (95 rushing, 96 receiving) against the Commanders.

Hall didn’t play in the Pro Football Hall of Fame preseason game in August, recovering from a 2022 knee injury that ended his season, and the Browns have lost multiple quarterbacks to season-ending injuries. Deshaun Watson (shoulder) and rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson (hip) are on injured reserve along with running back Nick Chubb (knee) and both of the Browns’ starting offensive tackles.

Enter first-year coordinator Jim Schwartz Cleveland’s top-ranked defense. The group allowed less than 300 yards in five of its past six games. The Browns are first against the pass (160.1 yards per game), total defense (260.3 yards per game), yards per play (4.46 yards) and interception rate (3.46 percent).

Erratic offensive line play hasn’t helped the Jets compete.

Now they must deal with defensive end Myles Garrett, who has 13 of the Browns’ 44 sacks in 2023, and a “high energy” crowd in Cleveland.

“I think the fans are going to bring the energy, I think we’re going to bring the energy,” Browns guard Joel Bitonio said.

–Field Level Media

Free NFL Picks and Predictions:

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