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Cleveland Browns Monday Night Football: Keys to Victory Versus Jets

The Browns battle with the New York Jets on Monday Night Football. The last time the Browns were in primetime against the Jets, it was a good ending. Here’s the keys to victory on Monday night…

Photo courtesy of AP

The Browns will battle with the New York Jets in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Monday Night Football. Here’s my keys to victory for the Browns:

  1. Can the Browns keep quarterback Baker Mayfield upright? Mayfield was sacked five times in the team’s opener against the Titans. In the last eight games of last year, Mayfield was only sacked five times total. Kevin Zeitler was on the team then. He’s since been traded to the Giants.
  2. Odell Beckham Jr.’s return to the Big Apple. While he’s not playing against the Giants, certainly Beckham will be eager to play in MetLife Stadium on Monday.
  3. Speaking of eagerness, the Browns open up their four-game primetime slate on ESPN on Monday night. The lights will be bright and the world will be watching. The team can’t let that pressure crack them.
  4. With the eye’s of the world glued to their televisions, will the Browns be able to clean up the penalties? The team nearly set an NFL record for penalties and yards lost in their opener. If the Browns clean that up, they will be able to perform to their truest form. If not, 0-2 likely ensues.
  5. The Jets are without starting quarterback Sam Darnold, linebacker C.J. Mosely and defensive tackle Quinnen Williams. The Browns need to capitalize on the absence of these starters.
  6. Speaking of the Jets defense, the Browns will be facing former interim head coach Gregg Williams. Williams is a blitz-happy coordinator who will undoubtedly pressure Mayfield.
  7. Can head coach Freddie Kitchens find a quick-hitting offensive game plan to counteract the blitzing Jets? The Browns were at their best last year when they had Mayfield get rid of the ball quickly.
  8. Last week against the Titans, running back Nick Chubb had 17 carries for 75 yards. He also had three catches for 10 yards. The Browns could possibly use Chubb as a check down receiver on Monday against the blitz.
  9. Offensive coordinator Todd Monken mentioned running more often and “using play action.” Opposing defenses respect Chubb. Browns fans saw that last season. Using play action sets up unique protections for Mayfield and gives time for the receivers’ routes to develop.
  10. In the opener, the Browns sent the receivers on a lot of deep routes. This was partially a result of bad field positioning due to penalties. With pressure likely coming Mayfield’s way, the Browns could easily shorten up most of Beckham and Jarvis Landry’s routes. These could still result in big gains
  11. Kicking, kicking, kicking. Rookie kicker Austin Seibert’s missed extra point started Cleveland’s meltdown in the opener. Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer noted that the miss was a fundamental kicking error.
  12. Despite the Titans missing their starting left tackle, the Browns defense only had four sacks. Defensive end Olivier Vernon didn’t record a single statistic despite playing 56 snaps. With backup quarterback Trevor Siemian starting, the Browns defensive front needs to find their way to him.
  13. Containing Le’Veon Bell will be a huge factor for the Browns. In the Jets opening loss, Bell had 17 carries for only 60 yards. He had six catches for 32 yards and a receiving touchdown. Bell is battling a sore shoulder, but will play Monday night.
  14. The Browns need to let go of all the Williams and Beckham drama from throughout the week. They need to be the bigger team and just play the game. Forget about the watch and the trash talk and just stay safe and walk away with a win.
  15. The Browns are a playoff-caliber team on paper but they didn’t look like it in the opener. The Browns are undoubtedly more talented than the injured Jets. If they play a disciplined, sound, smart game of football, the Browns will walk away with their first win of the year. They’re just the better team.

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