The Browns & Jets hook up from the Meadowlands to kick off the season. With these two teams it all comes down to the quarterbacks, and which one of them will suck the least and cover NFL odds.
If you’re a Jets fan, you have to be excited about this season, and if Johnny Manziel ends up as the starter against New York, you really have to like the fact that the first opportunity you get to see this new-look defense in action is against that smug asshole. The Jets went on an absolute spending bonanza this offseason, and even though they still have some question marks under center, the other side of the ball for this team looks as nasty as ever. To start things off they brought in the old wrecking crew at cornerback in Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis. Both of those guys got huge contracts, and while they might have overpaid Revis a little, if he is still the Revis we know, whomever is under center for the Browns is going to have a very tough time in this game. On top of that the Jets brought in Marcus Gilchrist to play strong safety and Buster Skrine to be the nickel corner. Considering Johnny’s posse isn’t going to be in the game to protect him, I find it hard to believe that the Browns can win this game on the road.
On top of the Jets defense looking nice, the Browns offense looks lackluster. When you’re biggest offensive free agent signings are Dwayne Bowe and Brian Hartline, you’re pretty much signaling to the rest of the NFL that you will continue to be the Browns this season, and you have little to no aspirations of climbing out of 4th place in the AFC North. With NFL odds only favoring the Jets by -2 ½ in this one, laying the points is almost a no-brainer for me.
The Early Sharp Pick
Of course we still have Geno Smith to talk about, but unless you just started watching the NFL last season, you’ll know that a solid running game and defense led the Jets to some AFC Title games with Mark Sanchez under center. Smith has far more upside than Sanchez has ever dreamed of having, and if he can just put things together this offseason; the playoffs are not out of the question at all. Plus Smith has had almost no weapons since he got to New York, and that certainly changes this season. With the addition of Brandon Marshall to go along with Eric Decker, and with one of the deeper stables of running backs in the entire NFL, all Smith needs to do is manage the game here against the Browns, and New York should win this one by two touchdowns.
The Smith factor is the only thing keeping this line from being north of -5, but let’s take a deeper look at the end of young Geno’s 2014 season. In a road game against the Miami Dolphins in the final week of the season, Smith put up his best game of his career, going 20/25 with over 350 yards, three touchdowns and no picks. If that was him figuring it out, I fear for anyone who is taking the points with the Browns in this one if he can carry that over to 2015. At this point in the offseason, and with what we have seen from the Browns so far this summer, I am all over laying the points in this one.
My Pick: Jets -2 ½ at The Greek