Thursday Night Football: Browns top Jets, clinch playoff spot in 4th straight win with Joe Flacco

Another big game for Joe Flacco was another big night for the Cleveland Browns. Flacco threw for 309 yards with three touchdowns and a single interception Thursday in a 37-20 Cleveland Browns win over the New York Jets. The win was the fourth straight for the team, who improved 4-1 with Flacco at quarterback. They improved to 11-5 to secure their spot in the postseason.

The Cleveland Browns (10-5) enter a matchup against the New York Jets (6-9) on Thursday, December 28, 2023 at Cleveland Browns Stadium on a three-game winning streak. This year, the Browns put up just two more points per game (23) than the Jets allow (21), and New York scores 5.3 fewer points per game (15.4) than Cleveland gives up (20.7). The Browns collect 335.9 yards per game, 41.1 more yards than the 294.8 the Jets give up per matchup.

New York racks up only 3.2 more yards per game (263.5) than Cleveland gives up (260.3). The Browns rush for 119.1 yards per game, just 7.1 fewer yards than the 126.2 the Jets allow per outing. This season New York averages 90.3 yards per game on the ground, 9.9 fewer yards than Cleveland allows (100.2). The Browns have turned the ball over 32 times this season, 10 more turnovers than the Jets have forced (22).

This season New York has turned the ball over 30 times, five more than Cleveland’s takeaways (25).

The Cleveland Browns’ average points scored (20.5) and conceded (13.1) in home games are both lower than their overall averages of 23 and 20.7, respectively. At home, the team accumulate 317.8 yards per game and concede 197.9, that’s less than they gain (335.9) and allow (260.3) overall. Cleveland’s average passing yards gained (210.6) and conceded (110.5) at home are both lower than its overall averages of 216.8 and 160.1, respectively.

The Cleveland Browns accumulate 107.1 rushing yards per game at home (12 less than their overall average), and concede 87.4 at home (12.8 less than overall). In home games, the team convert 28.2% of third downs and allow 23.2% to be converted by their opponent, that’s less than they convert (31.5%) and allow (28.7%) overall. The team is headed back to the postseason for the first time since 2002.

Cleveland can rejoice. Its Browns are headed to the playoffs for only the second time in 21 seasons. The team delivered a 37-20 win over the New York Jets to clinch a postseason berth in front of their home crowd at Cleveland Browns Stadium on the Thursday Night Football national stage. Joe Flacco, the Cleveland Browns’ fourth starting quarterback this season, passed for 309 yards and three touchdowns, while David Njoku had six receptions for 134 yards on a night where Cleveland did not have star wide receiver Amari Cooper due to a heel injury and lost Elijah Moore due to a concussion.

Running back Jerome Ford also produced two receiving TDs as the Cleveland Browns (11-5) won their fourth straight game.

Cleveland did nearly all of its damage in the first half, as it roared out to a 34-17 halftime lead behind Flacco’s three TD passes — two of which to Ford, the other to Moore. Kareem Hunt’s 7-yard touchdown rush and Ronnie Hickman’s 30-yard interception return for a touchdown also aided the Browns as they never looked back from a dominating first half, in which they simply imposed their will on the Jets. That 34 points during the first half — combined with the Jets’ struggles on offense — were enough to ride out to the team’s victory as each team managed a field goal in the fourth quarter.

While there is great concern over the Cleveland Browns’ receivers in Cooper and Moore, the team officially punching their playoff ticket is enough to celebrate amongst the Cleveland faithful tonight. The team has clinched at least a Wild Card spot and still have an outside chance to win the The American Football Conference – Northern Division (AFC North) and possibly the top overall seed in the conference with some help. They will visit the Cincinnati Bengals to end their regular season next week.