Week 2's NY Jets vs. Cleveland Browns game is a classic can't-afford-to-lose scenario for both teams.
Months ago, when the NFL unveiled its full slate of games for the 2022 season, followers of the Jets had a tough time finding a potential soft spot in what appeared to be an exceedingly challenging schedule — particularly in the first half of the Jets' season.
The Jets were set to open with the Ravens, clash with the AFC Champion Bengals, combined with road trips to Pittsburgh, Green Bay, and Denver in their first seven weeks of play.
However, when the NFL officially announced that Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson would be suspended for 11 games, the Jets' Week 2 trip to Cleveland didn't seem as daunting, at least when compared to other games on their schedule. After all, on paper, this might be the Jets' only legitimate chance for a victory early on.
The truth is that all NFL teams see the Jets as a sure-fire victory on their schedule. And honestly, based on recent history, can you blame them?
Browns fans probably assume their team will be 2-0 because they are playing the Jets this weekend. Although they will never state such publicly, I'm sure the Browns team shares that sentiment. Experts and oddsmakers feel the same way. Cleveland is currently listed as a 6.5-point home favorite.
The Browns internally know they can't afford to lose any games at home to what is perceived as an inferior opponent. Especially if they want to contend in an ultra-competitive AFC.
It's been a week of frustration and receipts in Jets land. The green and white are fed up with the losing narrative attached to them, but the only way to change that is to start playing better and ultimately winning games.
Here are three key matchups that could affect the outcome of Sunday's Browns/Jets game. The team that comes out on the positive end of these matchups will avoid losing a game they can't afford to.