The much-awaited NFL preseason is set to kick off Thursday in Canton, Ohio, as the Cleveland Browns take on the New York Jets. With their betting season over/under win totals set at 9.5, both teams have high expectations for the upcoming season.
The Jets’ acquisition of Aaron Rodgers was one of the biggest headlines of the offseason. Although Rodgers will not be playing in this opening preseason game, his presence and leadership will undoubtedly impact the Jets’ offense throughout the season.
On the other side, the Cleveland Browns are eager to bounce back from two consecutive losing seasons. Alot of their hopes rest on the shoulders of quarterback DeShaun Watson.
After a tumultuous period, which included Watson missing 28 games over the last two seasons, the franchise hopes their quarterback can put the off-field distractions behind him and focus on leading the team to the playoffs.
The pressure on head coach Kevin Stefanski is immense, and fans are hoping his offseason decision to replace defensive coordinator Joe Woods with Jim Schwartz will lead to substantial improvements on the defensive side of the ball.
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Although both Rodgers and Watson will be resting in the preseason opener, Cleveland will also not be playing its most experienced backup quarterback, Joshua Dobbs. Based on the depth charts for this matchup, the Jets have the advantage at quarterback with Zach Wilson.
Wilson is coming off a disappointing 2022 campaign but has 22 games of experience under his belt and alot to prove. This game will also be played on Wilson’s 24th birthday, and I expect him to shine in this matchup. The Jets’ defense should also be able to capitalize on mistakes from the inexperienced Browns’ signal callers.
The Browns are expected to start Kellan Mond, who has only attempted three career regular-season passes. Also expected to play alot for the Browns is rookie quarterback Dorian Thomson, who struggled with turnovers during his time at UCLA.
Another factor I would not bet against is New York’s head coach, Robert Saleh, who is 5-0-1 straight up in preseason games, with each victory coming by at least three points or more.
As for the total, five of the last seven Hall of Fame Games have seen fewer than 34 points scored, and I expect this contest to follow suit. Both teams will have three more preseason games after this one, so expect to see alot of inexperienced players and for both offenses to keep things conservative, as the Jets to win and a low-scoring game.
Prediction: Jets 20 Browns 12
ATS Pick: Jets -1.5
Over/Under: Under 33.5
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) August 2, 2023
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| Title: August 3 NFL Hall of Fame Prediction: Browns vs. Jets
| Author: David Marotta
| Date: Aug 2nd, 2023