Give this one a read......
I consider myself to be a realistic fan, able to remove myself emotionally when seriously analyzing the schedule, roster and our chances
I've said over and over that 6-10 is probable, 7-9 would be a pleasant surprise and I would be overjoyed with 8-8. Outside of the first two games, the schedule is brutal. But come on - really? 1-15? The computer these guys use spits out 1-15? What is it a Commodore 64? A 286?
I see it this way;
The first two games are very winnable. I was originally a little bummed when I saw that we didn't open at home for the first time since '99, since the opener is my favorite game to attend. Starting with a clean slate, the festive mood in the Muni Lot, the pageantry, the fly over - and best of all - no sour mood from last weeks loss.
After giving it some thought though (Ok, seeing the Buck's on the schedule didn't hurt) I started to think that a week one road win could translate into an even better opener. One with the very real prospect of going 2-0! So, lets for the sake of argument against the folks at Whatifsports.com, assume that we are 2-0 after two.
Game 4 - Home against the Bengals. I always like to start out the year believing we can split the division games. This year the only exception is Baltimore. I see the "Division Champions" more as the team that showed it's true colors by stumbling into the playoffs last year. Browns win, fan enthusiasm erases memories of LeQuit.
Game 5 - Home Vs. Atlanta. I really don't know what to make of this one, but I lean toward thinking we get torched by Matt Ryan and Roddy White, Turner & Norwood combine for 150 yds. First home loss.
Game 6 - Browns take advantage of a rusty Big Ben, in his second game back from suspension (early, of course) and get their first win in Pittsburgh since '03.
Game 7 - If anybody would like to provide an argument for why the Browns would beat the Super Bowl Champs, on their own turf, I'd love to hear it. Saints roll.
Game 8 - After a mid season bye - in my opinion the best time - Could the Browns fans finally get revenge on Belichick for jettisoning the home town hero so many years ago? For becoming a Super Bowl winning genius AFTER leaving town? In a word, no.
Game 9 - At home Vs. The Jets. The Browns prove two things to the Jets - our passing on Sanchez was not a mistake and their letting Thomas Jones go was. Oh - three things - Braylon still sucks. 8 linebacker formation confuses Sanchez into crying in the fetal position. Our Ryan beats the Jets Ryan at his own game.
Game 10 - At Jacksonville Jaguars. I just don't see how this team is much better than the one that gave up in the last game of the season last year. It was good of DelRio to call out his QB's abilities (or lack thereof) in the offseason. Too bad the team didn't address the issue. Browns win.
Game 11 - Vs. Carolina in Cleveland. Can Jake Delhomme prove his former employer wrong? That's not even the important question in this game. What we really want to know is can the revamped Browns defense stop this two headed running attack? I'm torn on this one and really think it could go either way. By this point in the season we'll know if Fujita, Gokong, Roth, Ward, Asante, Haden and the gang have truly made a difference in the perennial bottom of the league ranked run defense. Just because of all the unknowns I'm going Carolina.
Game 12 - At Miami Dolphins. Instead of "my Dad can beat up your Dad" this could be a case of "my Wildcat can beat your Wildcat". Actually, I look for Miami to move away from the Wildcat as a staple and run more of a traditional offense with Chad Henne at the helm. Ricky is beyond old in NFL running back years and annual injuries have to be catching up with Ronnie Brown. Brown eek out a surprise road win.
Game 13 - At Buffalo. How is it that we are lucky enough to draw this team almost every year? Stil no QB and the Bills - with an already strong running back corps (albeit with a knucklehead in Lynch) draft C.J. Spiller? To top it off the team is switching to a 3-4 defense. In my recollection no team has made a seamless transition from 4-3 to 3-4, and the personnel transition usually takes a couple of seasons. Browns cruise - for a change.
8-5, and it's all downhill from here.....
Game 14 - At Cincy. I think the Bengals pull a reverse of last year and get cohesive toward the end of the season - too little too late, they beat the Browns at home. This keeps their Wild-Card hopes alive, only to be dashed by season ending losses to the Chargers and Ravens.
Game 15 - The Ravens come to town, leading the division and tuning up for a deep playoff run. As I said, this is the team that is in my opinion likely the division champ and an unlikely hope for a Browns split. Two division games to end the season and distance themselves from the pack, they crush the Browns, then the Bengals in week 16.
Game 16 - After a demoralizing blowout in week 15 to the Ravens, the Browns have a hard time getting up for this game. I'd like to believe that the Steelers on the downslide, but as I said - I hope to split within the division and I have the Browns winning in Pittsburgh week 6. I also think this game may have Wild-card implications for the Steelers. Hopefully - it may even mathematically have some sort of hope for the Browns reaching the playoffs. But, in the end I just can't see sweeping the season series with Pittsburgh.....this year.
That's my best case, most optomistic scenario for the season. Some of it just Butch Davis style "gut feeling", a lot is just blatant guessing. It could certainly be a lot worse.....but probably not Whatifsports.com 1-15 bad!
Anybody care to offer thier opinions - or refute mine?