Even though the Cleveland Browns are coming off a victory over the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints, you're not going to see very many people in the media favoring the 2-5 Browns to defeat the 6-1 New England Patriots this Sunday. ESPN's Adam Schefter is going against the majority projection though and thinks that Cleveland will come away with a victory. After the jump are the reasons for his prediction.
"Cleveland seems to play its best football against good teams, evidenced by the fact that they've beaten the defending Super Bowl champion each of the last three years, including the New Orleans Saints on the road two weeks ago," Schefter said. "I think they're coming back home. I think that they're coming off a bye week. I think the Patriots are coming off a game that took some things out of them, a great win over the Minnesota Vikings, where everybody thought a game like that could go either way.
"I just think that Cleveland is this tough, crafty football team. New England's the best team in football right now. You're not going to get an argument from me on that. I just think on one Sunday, I think it's going to be a tough game for them."
So how are they going to win, Schefter was asked?
“In Cleveland’s last seven wins, dating back to last October, they have averaged in those seven wins, 91.4 passing yards,” Schefter explained. “So how are they going to win? However the hell they’ve won the last seven times. By throwing for 91.4 yards, forcing 2-3 turnovers, by getting a Josh Cribbs special teams play ... that’s how they win.”
In his first three NFL starts, Colt McCoy has faced the best team in football, Week 6 version (Steelers, at Pittsburgh); the defending Super Bowl champion (Saints, at New Orleans;, and the best team in football, Week 9 version (Patriots, at home). That'd be like Colt, the ex-Texas QB, opening his college career at Alabama, at Oregon and home to Oklahoma. Brutal. If he comes out of it even 1-2 and completing 63-ish percent, the Browns have to give him the rest of the year to see if he might be the answer.
What do you think Cleveland's chances of winning this Sunday are?
In other news, Eric Mangini confirmed this morning that rookie quarterback Colt McCoy will get the start against the New England Patriots. Seneca Wallace and Jake Delhomme will both miss Friday's practice again, but Mangini noted that there is a chance Wallace will be on the team's 45-man active roster Sunday (instead of Brett Ratliff). That means Delhomme should probably be completely ruled as "OUT" for this week. I don't think this means McCoy is the starter the rest of the way; when all three quarterbacks are healthy, Mangini still has a decision to make.