4 crucial matchups in Browns home opener
The Cleveland Browns are looking to reach 2-0 for the first time 29 years. With the Jets coming to town, we take a look at four matchups that could tilt the balance in the game.
Don’t let Brownie the Elf being placed on the 50-yard line distract you from the fact that the Cleveland Browns are gunning for their first 2-0 start since 1993 this Sunday. The Browns are welcoming the New York Jets to FirstEnergy Stadium in their home opener.
These two teams have a history together, dating back to their first meeting in the first-ever Monday Night Football game in 1970. Cleveland holds a slight lead in the series, 15-13, although the Jets have won seven of the 12 games since the Browns returned to the NFL in 1999.
The Browns are undoubtedly the more talented team overall, but the Jets have several ascending players that could give Cleveland some fits. Here are four matchups to keep your eye on Sunday.
4 crucial matchups to watch for in the Browns home opener
Matchup No. 4: Jadeveon Clowney vs Max Mitchell
The Browns have the best one-two punch in the NFL when it comes to defensive ends. Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney are the types of players that can keep an offensive coordinator up at night. But the offensive tackles that line up against them need to try and get all the rest the can before a game, because they are in for a long night.
Enter Max Mitchell, the Jets’ fourth-round rookie that will be starting at right tackle and staring across at Clowney. Mitchell was baptized in the fire in his first start drawing the Calais Campbell. While the rookie went through a couple of rough patches in the game, he had a decent game considering the circumstances.
This week will be different for the rookie. In Week 1, the Jets were able to give Mitchell some help through their tight end usage. But this week the rookie is going to be on an island with Clowney because all of the Jets help will be over on the other side of the line helping George Fant with Myles Garrett.
For Clowney, this Sunday will be a favorable opportunity to join Garrett in the sack party. Jets quarterback, and former Browns’ killer, Joe Flacco is one of the least mobile QB’s in the NFL. Expect to see 90 and 95 in the Jets backfield early and often on Sunday.