I forgot the exact terminology JJ used to describe this movie, but I recall it being very similar to how Ridley described "Prometheus" in relation to Alien.I personally think it's a "series" of movies with the Cloverfield name...not related except they are monster related.
This is J J. ya know
There are certain fictional companies and brands that cross over both films. This film takes place in the former Confederacy, mostly Louisiana. Nothing specifically confirms or contradicts that the events of the first film in New York City happened, but based on some of the characters' reactions to this crisis it's unlikely that they did. The monsters in the final act of thise film are explicitly aliens. Depending on your interpretation of the final scene of the first film, the Clover monster either fell from the sky or was a dormant deep sea creature. If it's the former, it could have been a bioengineered creature released by these aliens to wreak havok on a major metropolitan center.