This Cleveland Browns season has been a rollercoaster unlike any other we’ve seen in recent memory.
One week it’s a close snoozefest against the Vikings, next it’s a barnburner with nearly 90 combined points against the Chargers.
The offense is hot, right? So the Cardinals game should be another shootout… Right?
Wrong. 37-14 blowout loss, IN Cleveland no less.
Then the defense recovers to hold the Broncos to 14 points and less than 230 total yards. Pretty odd sequence.
I’d argue that no team has been more up-and-down this season than the Browns. So hot, and so cold.
So, what are the Browns this year? It’s hard to get a read on them. Are they just lucky to be 4-3 at this point, and they’ll wind up missing the playoffs? Maybe they’re just an incredibly volatile, yet average team that will finish 9-8.
They’re neither, actually.
The Browns are legit. In fact, they’re still serious contenders. I stand by that. They have caught nearly every bad break imaginable this season, from referee mistakes to a laundry list of injuries, and yet they are STILL within striking distance of the division.
Their three losses come against the Chiefs, who are still ultra dangerous despite having a down year, The Chargers, who they would have beaten if it not for some of the worst refereeing on display this season, and the Cardinals, who just so happen to still be undefeated nearing the halfway point of the season. A couple of lucky bounces, and the Browns could be sitting at 6-1 right now.
Not to mention, they’re hanging in there with injuries to BOTH of their top running backs (Thank god for D’Ernest Johnson, right?) as well as their franchise QB. Jedrick Wills has missed time, Clowney has been hobbled, Takk McKinley hasn’t been full strength, and Odell hasn’t looked anything like the receiver the Browns traded for in 2019.
Most teams would be floundering with injuries to four of their five best players on offense, but Cleveland holds steady. If anything, the Browns’ depth has been showcased in recent weeks, and they can go toe-to-toe with any team in the league in that department.
The Browns might not have the prettiest record at the moment, but context matters. After all of the adversity they have faced, it’s clear they’re anything but pretenders this season. Once they finally get healthy and hit their stride, Cleveland is a handful for any team to face in the playoffs.