A lot has changed for the Cleveland Browns since their Week 1 embarrassment of a game against the Baltimore Ravens where they lost, 38-6. Since that time the Browns have won nine games, have a two-game advantage on the Ravens and are sitting in the driver’s seat to make the NFL Playoffs. The fact that the Browns are in this position is really stunning considering how they performed in that Week 1 game.
I went back and reviewed my postgame podcast (The Johnny Cleveland Podcast) of that game and I was like many of you thinking, “Here we go again with the same old Browns.” This new rookie Browns coach Kevin Stefanski seemed like he had no idea what he was doing. Early in the 2nd quarter Stefanski allowed the Browns to try a fake punt on their own 30-yard line that failed miserably. “What was this coach thinking? Oh my God!”
Players like Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield seemed jittery in the pocket and lacked any type of confidence. Browns placekicker Austin Seibert missed his only attempt at an extra point and missed a couple of field goals. Seibert was released later that week by the Browns.
So now we have made it to Week 14 of the NFL season and the Browns will host the Ravens on Monday night down at the First Energy Stadium. Browns fans are excited. The national sports media is yet again starting to fall back in love with the Browns.
So what happens Monday? The Browns are considered underdogs by those in the betting world. Last I checked the Ravens were two-point favorites.
Not many gave the Browns a chance against the Tennessee Titans going into that game last week. Folks around the sports world argued that the Browns hadn’t played anyone. And they surmised that Titans star running back Derrick Henry would bulldoze the Browns defense and propel them to victory.
The Browns and coach Stefanski made sure that didn’t happen. Instead, the Browns did the bulldozing and completely controlled the 1st half against the Titans scoring their own 38 points and leaving players like Henry sitting on the Titans bench in disarray.
This week, the chatter has been far more about respect for what the Browns are accomplishing this season, but there still is that underlining doubt about the Browns beating the Ravens, mainly due to that embarrassing loss in Week 1 and that the Ravens have traditionally been at the top of the AFC for years.
So again, what happens Monday?
I see the Browns and players like Mayfield, running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, wide receivers like Jarvis Landry and Rashard “Hollywood” Higgins and defensive giants like Myles Garrett to all play well. What happened in week one was a blip on what so far has turned out to be a new confident Browns team that is setting new lofty goals that haven’t been seen for decades. If I’m wrong, and the Browns slip up, look for coach Stefanski and his crew to steady the ship like all season and keep this Browns team in the hunt for not only the playoffs but far more super accomplishments.