When the New York Jets signed quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in the offseason, everyone figured the Harvard grad and 10-year NFL veteran would serve as a capable backup and mentor to starter Geno Smith. Then, the locker room incident occurred. With Smith out with a broken jaw, Fitzpatrick will lead the Jets to start the 2015 season in their opener against the Cleveland Browns. Even with Smith out for their opening match-up, Browns vs Jets odds still favor New York at home by a field goal (-3) while NFL predictions for week 1 on the over/under total expect a low scoring affair set at 39½. The New York Jets will be playing their first game under new head coach Todd Bowles, the former Arizona defensive coordinator. The defense got better the minute Bowles was hired.
It got even better when cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie were signed in the offseason. The Jets also have a budding star in DT Sheldon Richardson, though he is suspended for the Week 1 game against the Browns. First round draft pick Leonard Williams (6-4, 302) is another monster on the defensive line on a defense that was sixth in the league last year in total defense. Offensively, Fitzpatrick will have the luxury of throwing to accomplished receivers in Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, the team’s leading receiver a year ago. There is nowhere to go but up for the Jets passing game which finished last in the NFL last year. The running game should be solid with leading rusher Chris Ivory (821 yards) returning and the addition of former Patriot Stevan Ridley. That being said, Bowles' squad should have that experience needed on both sides of the ball to cover the 3-point spread as home favorites in Cleveland Browns vs New York Jets odds for week 1.
Expectations are even higher in Cleveland this season in year two of the Mike Pettine regime. The Browns were 7-4 and poised for a playoff berth in 2014 until reality set in and they dropped their five games in a row. Quarterback Brian Hoyer is gone and Josh McCown is in. He will be backed up by Johnny Manziel who is still learning how to be an NFL quarterback. The Cleveland Browns offense does not feature many big names and one of its best players, TE Jordan Cameron, is gone having signed with Miami in the offseason. The offense will have to improve on third down and its overall completion percentage (the Browns were worst in the NFL at 54.6 percent). NFL predictions for the week 1 match-up have Cleveland posted as 3-point road underdogs since their last meeting at New York (2013), was a 12-9 loss. The season opener (Sunday, September 13th) between the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets can be seen live on CBS at 1:00pm EST from MetLife Stadium.