NFL Cleveland Browns

5 Players Who Will Help the Cleveland Browns Beat the New York Jets

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Browns vs. Jets: 5 Players Who Will Help Browns Beat the Jets

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Well it is safe to say that it has been another disappointing season by the Cleveland Browns. There was a little bit of hope earlier in the season with Brian Hoyer as the starting quarterback, but during Week 5 game against the Buffalo Bills that all came crashing down. Linebacker Kiko Alonso tackled Hoyer awkwardly and he tore his ACL to put him out for the season. In comes Brandon Weeden. After a promising rookie campaign, he has looked atrocious all season long. He looks lost and absolutely terrified to even be on the same field as other NFL players.  

During Week 8 after a blowout against the Green Bay Packers, Rob Chudzinkski decided it was time to pull the plug on Weeden and let Jason Campbell get his shot.  Campbell only won one game, which was Week 11 against the Baltimore Ravens. The Browns started out at 3-2 and since then have gone 1-8. However, as bad as the record is, they have played every game closely and have lost some games that they should of won.

They gave up a fourth quarter lead to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 13. Then they got screwed out of a win against the New England Patriots the next week.   Last week was their last chance to stay in the  wild card hunt, but the defense could not overcome the Chicago Bears' fourth quarter run and they lost  38-31. The last few weeks have been brutal to say the least. However, the Browns do have a chance to end the season on a high note within these next two weeks and leave fans with some sort of hope as they enter into the offseason.

They face the New York Jets, who were eliminated from playoff contention as the Browns were last week. They are similar to the Browns in that they have a young team. Rookie Geno Smith is the Jets quarterback and has been Jekyll and Hyde all year along with the offense as a whole. The defense has not been much better for them. Dee Milliner has looked lost out there and has not produced as they thought he would. Muhammad Wilkerson has been their only saving grace all season long.  Therefore with the aforementioned problems, the Browns have a chance to win. Here are five players who must step up and perform if they will have a chance on Sunday.

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5. Jason Campbell

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

This is the engine that starts it all for the Cleveland Browns. Jason Campbell must have a good game to beat the Jets. The last few weeks he has been mediocre. Against the New England Patriots, Campbell could do no wrong and looked like an elite level quarterback. However, in last week's game against the Chicago Bears he didn't look any better than Brandon Weeden. With his safety net Jordan Cameron out with a concussion, he must find Josh Gordon. He only targeted him one time last week in the first half.  If the Browns are going to win he has to have at least 90-95 percent of the targets thrown his way.  He cannot check down as many times as he has in the past few games. Ed Reed will notice that immediately and cheat towards the side Campbell is checking down to. He doesn't have to have a perfect game, but he must play confident and tough to get the victory.

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4. Josh Gordon

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Gordon has been the best receiver in the NFL this year. That must continue against a New York  Jets secondary that is not as strong as previous years. Antonio Cromartie will likely have the pleasure of covering Gordon. Cromartie is not the same corner he was a few years ago, but he is still tough to go up against, especially in man coverage.  If Gordon gets matched up against Dee Milliner, he must take advantage of it and get open. Gordon is also stronger than Milliner and has to use his strength against him when given the chance.  He will also have to worry about Ed Reed and Kyle Wilson lurking, but in order to consider himself an elite receiver compared to a great one he has to beat that coverage and have a big day. With Jordan Cameron out with a concussion and the inconsistencies of Greg Little, it will be on him to lead the Browns to a win. 

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3. Edwin Baker

Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

Edwin Baker just joined the team last week, and he was impactful in his showing. He only had eight carries for 38 yards, but each one was earned. He runs hard and does not go down on first contact.  With Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson leading the defensive line, it is going to be a tough day for Baker.  If he is able to get past those monsters, he has the likes of linebacker David Harris to worry about.  Did I forget to mention Ed Reed?  He will also stack the box and sniff out any run play. He doesn't have the durability that he once did, but he is still impactful and could be a problem.  Baker must take his game to the next level to tire the defense out and make a difference. 

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2. Buster Skrine

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Buster Skrine has been the model of consistency, besides the last few games against the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Chicago Bears. He is only 5-foot-9 and it shows against some of the bigger receivers in the league. However, he will be going up against 5-foot-11 Santonio Holmes for most of the game. With Joe Haden likely out for the season with the hip injury, Skrine will have to be on his toes. Holmes is a deep threat and still possesses significant speed.  There will be times that 6-foot-5 David Nelson will be on his side, but he has to try and go underneath and make a play or time the ball just right. Jordan Poyer or Leon McFadden will be opposite him. As a unit they must step it up. 

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1. Joe Thomas

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Thomas has had one of his worst years since being drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2007.  He has had numerous false starts and has gotten beat off the ball quite a bit . This could be a little hard on the six-year Pro Bowler, but he is the best left tackle in the NFL and has not played like it at all year. He must stay disciplined and be ready for a battle against Muhammad Wilkerson.  He is one of the most underrated defensive ends in the league, and he must be contained if Jason Campbell and the running game will have any kind of chance in this game.  Rookie Sheldon Richardson is another player that has to be accounted for.