Leading up to the Cleveland Browns‘ game against the Detroit Lions, both teams 3-2, both tied for first place in their division, and I just can’t get too excited about the Browns season, so far. When I read local media talk about the Browns, and when doing so mention the playoffs, I sort of sigh heavily. I’m condescending in my attitude. I don’t believe in the Browns.
The Browns have won three in a row, and they have won the way good teams win: Efficient offense, suffocating defense and opportunistic special teams. But I’m still not buying. I mean, teams play games to win and to try and get into the postseason. In a purely mathematical sense, the odds are the same for everyone: 1-in-32. There’s no reason the Browns can’t have a surprise season.
Why be so doubtful about the Browns? Did anyone think the Kansas City Chiefs would be 5-0? Am I that down on KC’s chances? OK, so even at 5-0, I don’t expect them to make the Super Bowl, but wouldn’t a playoff appearance still be fun? Every season seems to have a team that surprises everyone and makes a playoff run. It usually ends quickly because when the playoffs begin, that “any given Sunday” crap goes out the window. Typically the better teams exploit the weaker teams and move on.
Maybe because I am more emotionally close to the Browns, I have a hard time believing, afraid of getting sucked in. Maybe I’m afraid that I will get on the bandwagon and then look stupid when the team follows up a three-game win streak with a four-game losing streak. Maybe.
Or maybe I look at the teams the Browns have beaten and I’m not very impressed. Maybe I see Brandon Weeden back at quarterback and I’m skeptical after watching Brian Hoyer. Maybe I’m looking at the same roster that I saw in preseason, and I see no reason to stray from my five-to-six wins prediction. Can they beat the Detroit Lions? I think so. The Lions defensive backfield is not impressive and a hobbled Calvin Johnson will be covered by Joe Haden. The Lions have Reggie Bush, but the Minnesota Vikings had Adrian Peterson and he did very little against Cleveland’s front seven. So, yes, I guess I do expect a Browns win.
But a victory over the Lions would give the Browns a 4-2 record and would be their fourth-straight win. It would keep them in first place closing in on the halfway point of the season. Isn’t that enough to believe? Maybe. But to be honest, I still won’t.