Lions and Watsons and Browns, oh my!

As of this writing, the Browns had not yet clinched the AFC North, but, based on all the Super Bowl talk I’ve heard of late, I’m pretty sure they’ll clinch any day now. Any day now…

You can call me “Gloomy Gus” if you’d like, but I’d just like to remind everyone in Cleveland making their Super Bowl hotel reservations that there might be a few obstacles along the way to the promised land. Those of you gulping the Bandwagon Kool Aid may want to consider the following:

This is still Cleveland, after all. Home of “The Drive.” “The Fumble.” “Red Right 88.” Johnny Manziel. Mike Junkin. Barkevious Mingo. My, how soon we forget.

The Browns are blessed with a schedule that features 4 of the first 5 games at home, a bye week in week 5, and an uncharacteristically generous helping of non-playoff teams (from last season). Plus, 9 of their 17 games are at home.

While those are all welcome plusses when compared to years gone by, they can also contribute to misleading results. Starting with week 7, 5 of the next 7 games will be on the road, and the Browns have yet to prove they can play well and win on the road with any consistency.  

In week one, the Browns played a Bengals team in which their star quarterback, Joe Burrow, played more like Spurgeon Wynn after not playing a down in preseason. (In fact, Burrow has largely underachieved this year, and has made most opposing defenses look very good in the process.)

In week two – the only road game so far this season – the Browns looked awful in losing a game they never should have lost, showing that they still have the capacity to find a way to lose, which is difficult to ignore. Yes, and they lost Nick Chubb, who is a remarkable running back, but the fact remains that they were not that good in prior years with a healthy Chubb, either (which is probably more an indictment of coaching than anything else).

It has been more than a generation (actually closer to two) since the Browns had a good run of success (spanning several years) in the NFL. Is this team – hurting for draft choices over the next several years due to the Watson trade – capable of a good run despite the dearth of draft choices, with a questionable coach and a highly questionable owner? And, can they avoid any additional key injuries?

It seems unlikely the stars will align in such a manner to answer “yes” to all of those questions.

Finally, just when the Browns finally seem to be on the verge of competence, another of the “we’ve-never-been-to-the-Super-Bowl” crowd – the Detroit Lions – appear to have a legitimate shot at making a Super Bowl run.

Imagine that: a Browns versus Lions Super Bowl?

What, no “Great Lakes Classic”? Blasphemy!

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!

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Volume 15, Issue 18, Posted 8:54 AM, 10.03.2023