Browns vs. Jets NFL Picks

Jason Lake

Tuesday, December 17, 2013 3:21 PM GMT

The New York Jets looked pretty good early on, but they’ve beaten the football betting lines just once since Week 9. Then again, so have the Cleveland Browns.

Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to December 15 inclusive:

38-31-2 ATS

1-1 ML (+0.71 units)

8-17-1 Totals

Where’s Mark Sanchez when you need him? The New York Jets (6-8 SU, 7-6-1 ATS) are on the verge of playoff elimination after losing four of their last five games at 1-3-1 ATS. Their offense is a mess, and their head coach might lose his job, too. It’s as if nothing’s changed since Sanchez butt-fumbled his way into football immortality.

Life could be worse. You could be the Cleveland Browns (4-10 SU, 6-8 ATS), for example. They were supposed to have a reasonably good year – at least from a football betting standpoint – with a completely remodeled front office under new ownership. But the owner is under investigation for fraud, and the Browns have lost five games in a row at 1-4 ATS. Welcome to the Teddy Bridgewater Sweepstakes.

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Paper Planes

Things have gotten bad enough for both of these teams that the Week 16 NFL lines opened Sunday’s matchup at MetLife Stadium (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS) as a pick ‘em. But at least the Jets have gotten enough support to move to –2 as we go to press. Looks like sharp money, too. The Browns are showing up with roughly 55 percent support on our consensus reports, but it was New York getting the early action from deeper-pocketed sources.

The Jets have to be considered the better team on paper, although there’s not much difference between these two teams when you look at the efficiency charts at Football Outsiders. New York was ranked No. 26 overall (No. 31 offense, No. 12 defense, No. 7 special teams) heading into Week 15, while Cleveland was ranked No. 28 (No. 27 offense, No. 23 defense, No. 13 special teams).

Bring Back Sanchez

Maybe it’s time to concede that the Jets simply don’t know what they’re doing on offense. Head coach Rex Ryan comes from a family of defensive geniuses, but here we are one year removed from the Butt Fumble, and the Jets are still awful at moving the chains. Cover your eyes, it’s time to compare 2012 Mark Sanchez with 2013 Geno Smith:

2012 Sanchez: 54.3 CMP%, 13 TDs, 18 INTs, 66.9 passer rating, minus-593 passing DYAR, 23.4 QBR

2013 Smith: 55.3 CMP%, 10 TDs, 21 INTs, 62.9 passer rating, minus-554 passing DYAR, 25.4 QBR

Sweet sassy molassey. In fairness to Smith, he’s a fairly raw rookie out of West Virginia, and he adds a welcome running element to the offense (5.3 yards per carry). But there’s no escaping it: For the second straight year, the Jets have the worst starting quarterback in the league.

Make sure to check out our:

NFL Picks: Week 16 Betting Odds Report

Jason X

The Browns weren’t getting very far with QB Brandon Weeden (70.3 passer rating), but they’re also not getting very far with QB Jason Campbell (84.7 passer rating). Which is a shame, really. Campbell has been one of the league’s undervalued pivots ever since he broke in with Washington in 2006. He consistently puts up average numbers; this year, Campbell is No. 19 in passing DVOA at minus-0.2 percent. Can’t get much more average than that.

Unfortunately for Campbell and the Browns, they have almost no running game to speak of. They shipped out RB Trent Richardson (3.4 yards per carry) for a first-round pick, which looks like a good deal at the moment, but replacement RB Willis McGahee (2.7 yards per carry) has been a short-term downgrade, and he missed last week’s 38-31 loss to the Chicago Bears (+1 away) with a concussion. Fading these guys on the road this week isn’t a difficult choice.

NFL Pick: Take the Jets –1.5 at BetDSI