Jets vs Browns NFL Preview & Free Pick [Hall of Fame Game]

NY Jets (0-0) vs Cleveland (0-0)
When: Thursday, August 3rd 2023
Where: Tom Benson Stadium,
Canton, OH
Time: 8:00 ET | TV: NBC
Opening Odds: Cleveland -2.5/34

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Finally, the NFL is set to make its return this Thursday night, August 3rd, with the annual Hall of Fame Game from Canton, Ohio. This year’s edition features the New York Jets and the Cleveland Browns. Odds on this contest have been out for a few weeks and New York is currently a 1.5-point favorite with a low total of 33.5.

Since its the first preseason game of the year and most starters won’t participate, the Hall of Fame Game is typically very low scoring. The total has gone Over 31.5 points just four times in the last 10 matchups.

Cleveland has played in five Hall of Fame Games, going 2-3. This is their first appearance since they beat the Dallas Cowboys 20-17 in 1999. The Jets are 1-1 in these annual games, losing 20-6 to the Chicago Bears in 1977 and beating the Philadelphia Eagles 41-14 in 1992.

The Jets finished 7-10 last year and have now tied the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres for the longest active playoff drought in major North American professional sports – 12 years. However, Jets fans are now giddy after the team acquired four-time league MVP Aaron Rodgers in the offseason to replace Zach Wilson at quarterback. Rodgers hasn’t played a preseason game since 2018 and won’t play in this one either, with Wilson expected to start.

Wide receiver Garrett Wilson, who is dealing with a low-ankle sprain, and cornerback Sauce Gardner will also sit out. 2020 first round draft pick and offensive tackle, Mekhi Becton, is expected to play. Defensive end Will McDonald, the 15th overall selection in this year’s draft is also expected to play despite suffering a leg contusion early in camp.

Cleveland also finished 7-10 in 2022, missing the playoffs for the second straight year. Quarterback Deshaun Watson was suspended for the first 11 games, forcing Cleveland to turn to veteran Jacoby Brissett. The Browns were 4-7 with Brissett and 3-3 with Watson. Brissett is gone, signing with Washington in the offseason.

Fifth-round pick Dorian Thompson-Robinson is expected to see the bulk of the playing time on Thursday. Joshua Dobbs and Kellen Mond are expected to share quarterback reps with Thompson-Robinson throughout the entire preseason.

These preseason games are tough, especially the Hall of Fame Game, which is typically sloppy and low-scoring. I’m taking the Jets based mainly on Wilson having the experience over the Cleveland quarterbacks. Thompson-Robinson will probably look like a rookie out there.

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Pick: Jets -1.5