The NFL may seem like a year-long league but the reality is the NFL season goes by in a blink of an eye. Part of that has to do with the end-of-year holidays that happen during the end of the season that seem to speed things up for everyone but 18 weeks out of 52 in a year is not much.
For the Cleveland Browns and their fans, Week 5 is a time to reflect and sit back. The Browns bye week this early in the season looked like a negative when the schedule came out but could be at the right moment for the team to get healthy and figure things out.
The beat goes on for the NFL, however, with Thursday Night Football in the rearview mirror and the London game kicking off at 9:30 Eastern Standard Time.
For the Browns, and the rest of the NFL, the playoff picture is always being shaped. While there are 13 more games on the schedule, every week seems to play a huge role in how things play out at the end of the season. Taking a look at a few games, starting with the early Sunday morning one, that Cleveland fans should be paying attention to in Week 5:
Buffalo Bills Vs Jacksonville Jaguars - 9:30 AM
The Bills lead the AFC East while the Jags are tied with everyone in the AFC South right now. With only one team getting a bye in each conference, the fight for the Wild Card spots after division leaders could get very interesting including these two teams.
Jacksonville comes to town in early December for a game that could impact both teams’ playoff hopes. Best case scenario for Browns fans, probably, is that each team runs away with their division and takes out as many other AFC teams as they can along the way.
Tennessee Titans vs Indianapolis Colts - 1 PM
Two of the other AFC South teams that are tied at 2-2, both showed up on Cleveland’s schedule this year. The Titans lost to the Browns in Week 3 while the Colts are the Week 7 opponent on the road.
No real rooting interest here, at this point in the season, for Cleveland fans but an interesting game to watch as the division could either devour itself like last year or see a couple of teams rise up and stay in the thick of the Wild Card race.
Baltimore Ravens vs Pittsburgh Steelers - 1 PM
Unfortunately, both AFC North teams have already beaten the Browns but Cleveland fans should be rooting for the Steelers to knock off the Ravens to put both teams at 3-2 on the year. While many normally joke about rooting for a tie, getting another loss on Baltimore’s record would probably be helpful.
Cincinnati Bengals vs Arizona Cardinals - 4:05 PM
While the Browns season has been a bit bumpy, the fact that the Bengals and Cardinals have the same record going into this matchup is a direct result of a terrible start for Cincinnati. Arizona has played well with Josh Dobbs at quarterback and Joe Burrow’s struggles are evident.
Dropping to 1-4 could spell the end of the Bengals season and, perhaps, some kind of procedure or injured reserve time for Burrow.
Dallas Cowboys vs San Francisco 49ers - 8:20 PM
Cleveland’s next opponent plays on Sunday night. The Niners and Cowboys is expected to be a good game but Browns fans will be watching for how physical it is and, perhaps, what San Francisco’s mental state is coming out of the game and having to fly across the country for a 1 PM kickoff next week.
Generally the idea of a “let down” or “motivated for their coach” (reminder of Kyle Shanahan’s time in Cleveland) is shared after the results of the game in question so, after tonight’s game, we will just be guessing.
What game or games will you be focused on today?