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Week 5 preview: Jets vs. Browns

Elijah McGuire (35) takes a handoff in

Elijah McGuire (35) takes a handoff in a preseason game against the Eagles at MetLife Stadium on August 31, 2017. Credit: Elijah McGuire (35) takes a handoff in a preseason game against the Eagles at MetLife Stadium on August 31, 2017.


The 0-4 Browns will be somewhat of a desperate team Sunday. while Jets are looking to improve to 3-2 and tie the Patriots for second place in the AFC East. But don’t call them “the hapless Browns” in front of Jets coach Todd Bowles

“They’re all dangerous every week, regardless of record,’’ Bowles said. “It’s the NFL, they’re dangerous.”

The Jets have evened their record after an 0-2 start, but they seek their first road win of the season against a — here’s that word again — ‘dangerous’ Browns team that might be willing to take more chances in an effort to get into the win column.

“We’ve played teams with 4-0 records that took great chances as well,” Bowles said. “So, we just have to be prepared to play. Whatever they give us, they give us.”


It appears that defensive end Myles Garrett, the NFL’s No. 1 overall pick, will make his debut against the Jets. Garrett has been out since Sept. 6 with a high ankle sprain. Garrett became the top player in the draft after playing in 36 career games for Texas A&M where he recorded 32.5 sacks and was a first-team All-American in 2015 and 2016. Browns coach Hue Jackson said Garrett will be on a pitch count agaisnt the Jets.

“You can go back and watch college film, too, and look at that and preseason games and things like that,” Morton said of Garrett. “He’s a force. We’re going to have to make sure that we take care of him and not let him ruin the game.”


The Jets will see East Orange, New Jersey, native Jabrill Peppers on Sunday. He is the Browns’ 2017 first-round pick (25th overall) out of Michigan. The safety/returner has defended one pass this season, and returned eight punts for 38 yards and seven kickoffs for 148 yards. Peppers has speed and elusiveness that can cause fits for a special team’s unit and the Browns also drafted him for his ability to make plays on the ball.

“Exciting player,” Bowles said. “He’s going to be a force in this league for a long time. Great range, he can hit, he can return. He’s everything you thought he was.”

As a return unit, the Browns struggle. They ranked 29th in the NFL on kickoff returns, with the average start at the 23-yard-line. The NFL average is 24.4.


With starter Matt Forte out for the second consecutive game with turf toe, the Jets will start Bilal Powell and pair him with rookie Elijah McGuire. The duo combined for 256 rushing yards in the Week 4 victory over the Jaguars, needing just 13 carries to reach 200 yards. It was the fewest carries to reach 200 yards in Jets franchise history. Of course, Powell’s 75-yard TD run, and the 69-yard TD run by McGuire had a lot to do with that.

McGuire is becoming a favorite of offensive coordinator John Morton, who likes the quickness of the 5-10, 214 pound back.

“I think the biggest thing, and I think I’ve said this earlier . . . it’s like he’s a veteran already,” Morton said. “I think he’s being coached well and we’re putting him in the right place to have success. The game’s not too big for him, I think that’s the biggest thing. It is preparation is key to his success so far.”

The Jets liked how McGuire responded after he fumbled against the Dolphins in Week 3.

“I look at guy’s demeanor sometimes,” Morton said. “When things don’t go right some guys go in the tank and panic. He doesn’t do that. Again, I think (running backs coach) Stump (Mitchell) does a really good job with him and we have some veteran running backs that do a really good job with him. That’s kind of how I get a feel about guys, a certain demeanor about a guy. If you get a guy that’s real nervous, it’s going to take some time. When he’s gone in, he’s accepted the opportunities.”


Sometimes a late acquisition can make an impact on a team. The Jets have a number of these players — David Bass, Terrence Brooks, Kony Ealy, Jermaine Kearse and Jeremy Kerley — who have been productive. Bass. Brooks and Ealy, who were signed July 27, lead the team in two different statistical categories. Brooks in interceptions (2) and Ealy in pass defensed (five). Ealy had four passes defensed against the Jaguars. Kearse, acquired in a Sept. 1 trade with the Seahawks, is the Jets leading receiver with 18 catches, and is second in receiving yards with 182. Kerley, who was signed off waivers on Sept. 5, didn’t play in Week 1, but already is second on the team with 13 receptions, and has taken over the punt return duties. Bass, acquired off waivers on Sept. 21, leads the Jets with two sacks.


7-9: The Jets’ record in Cleveland. Overall, the Browns hold a 12-11 head-to-head advantage.

28: The points per game average of the Jets in their last four games against the Browns. The Jets, who have won the last four meetings, trailed 20-7 at halftime last season before scoring 24 unanswered points to win, 31-28. The last time the Jets lost in Cleveland was in 2006.

4: Takeaways by the Jets so far, including two by safety Terrence Brooks last week. The Jets’ defense is tied for 25th at minus-3 in takeaways/giveaways.

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