Good morning, Cleveland Browns fans, and welcome to
gameday our bye week! In this week's edition of "The Sunday Five," I talk about the Browns' WR Greg Little being choked last week, a possible quarterback trade within the division, who Browns fans should be rooting for today, and more.
After last week's game against the Ravens, WR Greg Little accused Baltimore safety James Ihedigbo of choking him at the conclusion of a play. Ihedigbo denied such allegations, despite there being photo evidence of him with his hands wrapped around Little's neck area on the ground, and he also made some silly comments about Little not being tough of something. I guess going to choke a guy on the ground is what makes someone tough in Ihedigbo's mind.
The NFL handed down their weekly fines a few days ago, but neither Little nor Ihedigbo were reprimanded for their actions. Apparently, the NFL is saying that they don't mind if you choke players on the field. Good to know. Maybe Ndamukong Suh will get out of the stomping business and go straight for the throat of linemen (or, as Shaun Smith has previously learned, just "go after their package"). In all seriousness, the NFL probably didn't want to take either players' side, because the brief "choking" still shot might have been misleading in what the intent was as both players tussled to the ground. Still, it marks the second incident that the dirty Ravens have not been fined for against Cleveland this season, with the second being Ray Rice's spitting incident.
There is interesting stuff from Ian Rapoport of NFL.com today, and this is actually something I wondered about when it comes to QB Ben Roethlisberger. I have copied what he said in several tweets into the paragraph below:
Roethlisberger isn’t happy with the current Steelers situation, and it’s not just Todd Haley among the coaches. Steelers sources expect Big Ben to ask them to explore trade options after 2013. They fielded offers for him last offseason and could again.
Could the Steelers actually trade Big Ben? I was told no…unless they could replace him with a franchise QB. In this draft, they could. Where could Roethlisberger land? All eyes point to Cardinals, as Michael Silver said. Bruce Arians and Big Ben, together? Could happen. Another issue for Big Ben: his looming contract situation. Two years left, small salary, big cap number. Some doubts he can get paid in Pittsburgh.
Besides Roethlisberger, I've wondered the same about an Eli Manning in New York. I also had wondered about Matt Schaub and the Texans, but that situation has already unraveled. Could we see a new face of the franchise in Pittsburgh in 2014? It actually might not be a bad thing for Cleveland's sake. There are a lot of talented quarterbacks coming out of the draft, but some of them are going to be busts -- it's just bound to happen. If the Steelers draft one and miss, it could set them back, just like it has set Cleveland back so many times.
To help the Browns' playoff chances, here is your Week 10 guide for what would be the most ideal situation for Cleveland:
- Bengals vs. Ravens: 81% of you said that you hope the Ravens win, which would draw Cleveland closer to the Bengals for the AFC North division lead. It would also place us in a tie with the Ravens, though. Baltimore winning this week seems like the better scenario if we just want to "go for it."
- Jaguars vs. Titans: The Titans are 4-4 and are very much a wildcard contender. This should be an easy game against the winless Jaguars, but it'd be great if Jacksonville can pull off a win. Not only would it help Cleveland's playoff chances, it would help remove the burden of the Browns possibly facing a winless team looking for their first win late in the season.
- Broncos vs. Chargers: The Chargers are 4-4 and are also a wildcard contender. They have played teams tough this year and could upset the Broncos. At 8-1, hopefully Denver plays at the top of their game, though, to help crush San Diego's hopes.
- Dolphins vs. Buccaneers: The Dolphins are 4-4 and a wildcard contender. This game is the Monday Nighter. Hopefully, the whole Incognito-Martin situation kills the Dolphins' season, especially since they own a win over us. I'm actually picking the Buccaneers for an upset this week.
The other games with moderate interest include Bills vs. Steelers and Raiders vs. Giants. We would prefer the Steelers and Giants to win, so that Buffalo and Oakland are further away from being wildcard chasers.
Bye weeks are always tough for fans, but can be really good for your team, especially when you are riding with some momentum. The Ravens headed into their bye week with things looking gloomy -- a loss to the Steelers, and a running game that wasn't doing anything.
The Browns headed into their bye week finding some stability at the quarterback position (Jason Campbell), almost beating the undefeated Chiefs on the road, beating the Ravens at home to snap an 11-game losing streak against them, having almost everyone healthy on the team, and knowing that they could [basically] be playing for first place in the AFC North after the bye. This is a golden opportunity for the Browns, and it is the closest we've been in the division race in a long time. A win would do wonders for the city. A loss would put a damper on things, but wouldn't take us out of the wildcard hunt just yet. In other words, while I felt the Ravens game was a "must-win" one, I do not think the same thing about the upcoming Bengals game.
I haven't talked much fantasy football this year, but here I go: in the Dawgs By Nature fantasy league, my record is 4-5, putting me in a tie for 6th place and just one game behind 4th place. I am basically two games behind 4th place, though, because my overall point total is ridiculously low this year; I'm probably fortunate to have as many wins as I do. My main pitfall? I went into the season receiver-heavy, and took a chance on just two running backs: Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw. Little did I know that they would both end up getting traded to the same team, that Richardson would be worthless, and that Bradshaw would land on IR. Nightmare.
Finally, heading into Week 11, I find myself with a "somewhat" patched running back situation. I had drafted Ben Tate way back when, in the event that Arian Foster went down (we can use three running backs in our league, due to the flex position). Tate is the guy right now. I still have Richardson. I also snagged Mike James off the waiver wire a few weeks back. I also made late pickups of Mike Tolbert and Jonathan Stewart. The running back situation overall is still pretty gloomy, but I'm at least in a position now where maybe, just maybe, I can make a run to sneak into a playoff spot. It can happen if Robert Griffin III, Demaryius Thomas, A.J. Green, and Kansas City's Defense continue doing well for me.