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Watching With One Eye Closed
Watching With One Eye Closed
Here we go again. Sunday mornings used to be the highlight of my week. Now they feel as if I have a funeral to attend later in the day. In his preview of todays game, the Rhino breaks down Herm Edwards' Chiefs, and also takes some time to examine the Browns schedule ... which has been brutally tough so far. And notes that in addition to be being bad, the Browns have also been pretty unlucky.
This week, the NFL's answer to a slow motion train wreck takes on the Kansas City Chiefs. Before I brighten your Sunday morning with my witty banter about how the Browns will get their heads handed to them yet again this week, I think we've reached a point in the season where a digression into something that's bothered me all year is appropriate.
That something is the Browns' schedule. The Browns were 6-10 last season, a record they shared with the Baltimore Ravens. Since both teams are in the same division, how is it that the Browns ended up with a schedule that is so much more difficult than the one the Ravens were handed?
Here's what I'm talking about. The teams that the Ravens have faced have a combined record of 57-65, and six of those teams (Tampa Bay, Oakland, Cleveland, Tennessee, Atlanta and Pittsburgh) are below .500. In contrast, the Browns' opponents have a 69-54 record, and only three of those teams are below .500. Do I think the disparity in schedules is part of a big conspiracy? As much as I'd love to suggest otherwise, I don't think so. It's just another illustration of the fact that while the Browns have made plenty of bad decisions over the years since their return, bad luck has also seemed to dog every step that they've taken. That's a hell of a combination, isn't it?
Anyway, today's dose of bad luck comes in the form of the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs are a team that fortune has smiled upon this year. Lose Trent Green? Not a problem--
will come in and keep you in playoff contention until Green returns. Lose Priest Holmes for the season? Ever since
arrived, it's been "Priest who?" in KC anyway. Oh, and Tony Gonzalez's shoulder is healed as well. His pride, however, still
appears to be smarting
from some of Mr. Winslow's ill-considered early season remarks, and I expect that Gonzalez will make the Browns pay a price for those this afternoon.
Looking at the numbers, this appears to be a particularly bad matchup for the Browns. First of all, the Chiefs are on a 5-1 run, so they are coming into this game on a high note, while the Browns are still licking the wounds from their 30-0 shellacking at the hands of the Bengals. Larry Johnson
leads the NFL
in rushing, and the Chiefs rank
in the AFC in that offensive category. Unfortunately, the Browns have yet to figure out a way to stop the run, and their defense ranks a pitiful
24th in the league
against the rush.
While things don't look so good for the Browns' defense this week, I'm actually guardedly optimistic when it comes to the offensive side of the ball. Sure, Cleveland's offense
in the league, but I truly believe that if Charlie Frye plays within himself, the team will usually be successful in getting the football into the hands of Cleveland's most potent offensive weapon, punter Dave Zastudil. I will also go way out on a limb and predict that because the team will be fired up to help save their beloved head coach Romeo Crennel's job, they will, in fact, score an offensive touchdown this week.
But they'll miss the extra point. Kansas City 24, Cleveland 9.
Dec 02, 2006 7:00 PM
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