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TNF Staff Picks: Browns look for late push for number one seed against the Jets

Joe Flacco has improved the Browns offense to such a degree that not only will they seal a playoff berth with a win over the Jets but they could push the Ravens for the number one seed.

NFL: DEC 24 Browns at Texans Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hello Bolts From the Blue,

To kick off Week 17, the penultimate week of the regular season, the Cleveland Browns are playing host to the New York Jets in what is looking like a lopsided matchup between a team on the brink of clinching a trip to the playoffs and a team that has already been eliminated from contention.

No one could have predicted that the Browns would be sitting at 10-5 whilst relying on their fourth quarterback of the season but this is somehow the timeline we exist in as Joe Flacco has propelled his newest team to being genuine contenders. The 38 year old veteran signal caller has improved Kevin Stefanski’s offense to such a degree that together they can seal a playoff berth with a win over the already eliminated New York Jets and they could even push the Baltimore Ravens for the number one seed with a big portion of luck. Flacco’s connection with Amari Cooper has been remarkable as the duo have totalled 431 yards and three touchdowns over the last three games, all leading to wins. The return of ‘Playoff Joe’ was not on anyone’s radar but it has been a revelation for Cleveland, can they prove themselves as genuine contenders under his guardianship?

New York Jets’ head coach, Robert Saleh, has already been assured he will be back next season despite the insane levels of preseason hype culminating in disappointment as they were eliminated from playoff contention last week. This probably speaks to how important Aaron Rodgers was to their chances this year however since the former Green Bay Packer has missed all but four snaps, their impressive defense has not been enough to keep them in contention long enough for a questionably miraculous injury recovery to take place. The prima donna quarterback ambitiously proclaimed he could be back mere months after his achilles tear which he then, not so shockingly, backtracked once the Jets were out of contention. Without him, the Jets have struggled mightily to find an answer at quarterback and are now onto their fourth starter of the season in Trevor Siemian.

The DraftKings Sportsbook oddsmakers have listed the Browns as 7.5-point favorites to best Flacco’s former team on Thursday night. Sitting rock bottom last in yards per game, the Jets’ offense has been frankly been an embarrassment to the league for most of the season and despite seeing an improvement on Trevor Siemian’s first full game against the Washington Commanders, they do not seem to have any hope against one of the league’s best defenses led by Myles Garrett. The Jets’ defense has a chance to slow down Amari Cooper with Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed manning the flanks, however I don’t think placing all hope on Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall to create miracles after the catch will be enough for the Jets to get within a touchdown of the Browns. Therefore I like the double of the Browns to cover the spread at a generous +100 and the total to be under the 35 points on offer at -108. A two pick parlay for this comes out at +285 for anyone wanting a bit more juice.

Injuries to Consider

New York Jets

Israel Abanikanda, Greg Zuerlein, Duane Brown are all Questionable. Jeremy Ruckert and Zach Wilson are Out.

Cleveland Browns

Marquise Goodwin, Kareem Hunt, Corey Bojorquez, Anthony Walker Jr., Ogbo Okoronkwo, Jordan Kunaszyk, Juan Thornhill, Martin Emerson Jr., Wyatt Teller, Ethan Pocic, Joel Bitonio and Geron Christian are all listed as Questionable. Dorian Thompson-Robinson has been placed on Injured Reserve. Dustin Hopkins is Out.

Here is how the BFTB staff sees this game breaking down:

What do you think, BFTB? Any of you placing bets tonight?