Follow the author, Jake Harris: @jacoby407
The Browns are entering their bye week at 0-12 after losing to the Giants 27-13. They have now lost 15 in a row and are 3-30 since their five-game losing streak to end 2014.
Every single time I think I’ve seen the worst statistic that shows how truly pathetic the Browns have been, someone has a stat that’s worse. We all knew the Browns were not going to be any good this year. However, 0-12 is a level of bad that even the Browns haven’t reached before. It’s now to the point where I throw up in my mouth every time I see their record.
Us Browns fans from younger generations have little experience with a winning Browns team, but I never considered that they could reach a point where they couldn’t win a game. Like all Browns fans, though, I will forever be a blind optimist when it comes to this franchise.
There are still four games left on the schedule. While however slim the chances may be, the Browns still have four more opportunities to squeak out at least one win on the year.
Week 14: Bengals
The Bengals are another awful team this year. Losing Hue Jackson was a major blow for them. Their offense has not been the same without Hue as offensive coordinator. Not only that, they lost the guy they were grooming to take over once they moved on from Marvin Lewis, which is looking like a real possibility now after their abysmal season this year.
Offensively, the Bengals best play has always been to have Andy Dalton lob it up to AJ Green and pray he catches it. Thankfully for the Browns, AJ Green has been battling a hamstring injury the last few games, so he may not be 100% when they play in two weeks.
Whether AJ Green is hurt or not, though, Tyler Eifert will still be a huge problem for Cleveland. This Browns defense has struggled pretty much across the board this year, but they have failed mightily at covering tight ends. They will have to figure out a way to stop him in order to win this one.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Browns cannot continue to settle for field goals in the red zone. They have to limit their own turnovers and capitalize off the ones they cause as well. I know both those things have been repeated every week since football was created, but look at what happened in last week’s game against the Giants. The Giants turned Crowell’s fumble into a touchdown and the Browns only got a field goal off the muffed punt they recovered. That’s what an 8-3 team does versus what an 0-12 team.
Out of the four teams left on the schedule, I believe the Bengals are the best chance for the Browns to secure their first win. Though, just because I’m saying I think it’s their best chance doesn’t mean I think it’s likely.
At 5-6, the Chargers might not look great on paper, but they’re much better than what their record suggests. In a different division, say the AFC North perhaps, this is a playoff team.
Their defensive line is no joke. Joey Bosa has been a stud on this Chargers defense and is getting pro-bowl recognition, despite holding out and missing the entire offseason. They have weapons on offense as well with ex-Brown/traitor Travis Benjamin and Melvin Gordon. Plus, they will always be decent with Phillip Rivers at QB. In his career against the Browns, he’s 3-1 with five TD’s and zero interceptions.
I don’t see this fairing well at all for the Browns. The single thing worse than getting coal for Christmas would be getting tickets to this game. In fact, the value of a piece of coal is probably higher than the value of a Browns ticket right now. The only reason I could think of to attend this game is if you need an excuse to not hang out with the in-laws and get drunk at 9 a.m. on Christmas Eve. You won’t have any trouble finding tickets either, as there will be plenty of empty seats at this one.
Week 16: Bills
The Bills had a rough start to the year and have since turned it around. They’re now in the middle of the AFC Wildcard hunt at 7-4.
Last week, WR Sammy Watkins came out and had a monster game after sitting out for almost two months. When their offense is clicking, they’re tough to stop, but they’ve had a couple games where they have been terrible offensively. We can only hope they have one of those off days against the Browns.
On defense, they have been shaky all year. They have made some plays on that side of the ball though and won a couple low scoring games. Essentially, they’ve been inconsistent all around this whole season. Some days they’re in a shootout and others they can’t move the ball at all. There wouldn’t be a final score that would surprise me in this one, besides the Browns blowing them out of course.
One other thing to point out is the Bills will be coming off two tough games against the Raiders and Steelers. That could end up being an advantage for the Browns if they suffer two tough losses that eliminate them from the playoffs. On the opposite side of that though, that also means the Bills could be coming in hot off two impressive wins that keep them in the playoff hunt. The last thing the Browns need is a fired up #BillsMafia crowd with their team fighting for a playoff spot.
Either way, this will be a December game in Buffalo, so it could be a sloppy one if the weather is right. Seeing that the Browns play sloppy football, that should play into the Browns favor. I’d list this one as their 2nd best chance to win out of the last 4 games.
Week 17: Steelers
The Browns are 7-43 against the Steelers since I’ve been alive, so you won’t ever see me getting my hopes up about beating them. If the Browns are 0-15 going into this game, may God have mercy on us.
On the bright side, going 0-16 guarantees the number one overall pick. Though, I know we would all rather the Browns finish 1-15. All we can do now is hope they get one win and root for the 49ers to beat the Bears this week.
Follow the author, Jake Harris: @jacoby407
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