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Recent posts by Mike Wilkening
Here's a closer look at a matchup to watch in Sunday's Jets-Browns game.
Jets run defense vs. Browns RB Peyton Hillis
Hillis, acquired in the trade that sent QB Brady Quinn to Denver, has had a breakout season. He ran all over the Patriots, racking up a career-best 184 yards on 29 carries. The 6-1, 240-pound Hillis is powerful, but he's also nimble — he leapt over Patriots S James Sanders on an 18-yard run Sunday. And while he's not known for his speed, if he gets a step on the defense, he could be tougher than expected to catch. He clinched the Patriots win with a 35-yard TD run off right end. The Jets are all too familiar with him, having surrendered 129 yards on 22 carries to Hillis in a 34-17 loss to Denver in 2008.
The Browns' offensive line can wear down opponents, and on Cleveland's final scoring drive, Hillis carried six times for 60 yards, finishing the series with his 35-yard TD run. The Browns are particularly strong on the left side of the line, with OLT Joe Thomas one of the AFC's best at his position.
The Jets are very tough vs. the run. They are allowing just 87.4 rushing yards per game (fourth-best in the NFL) and 3.34 yards per carry (second in the league). The Jets are stout up front even without star NT Kris Jenkins, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week One. Sione Pouha has done a nice job stepping in for Jenkins. The other listed starters along the line are DE Shaun Ellis, a Jets stalwart; and DT Mike DeVito. Vernon Gholston backs up end, with Trevor Pryce capable of playing the nose, tackle and end.
ILBs David Harris (57 tackles) and Bart Scott (43 tackles) thrive playing behind this rugged defensive line and are very good run stuffers.