The Cleveland Browns miraculously have a 1-4 record in mid-October but the upcoming difficult schedule projects even more somber results.
Call it “a win” if you want, at least the brutal affair against the the Buffalo Bills last week enabled Cleveland to not finish this year 0-16. The season so far has been simply depressing for the fans as the offensive ineptitude from 2008 has continued along with even more defensive lapses. When the special teams unit is the only thing laudable, it is clear the Browns will be on the wrong side of another lopsided game Sunday against the dreaded Pittsburgh Steelers.
Looking at the next few games as well, three of the next four Cleveland opponents won nine games in 2008 and you can also include Cincinnati, San Diego and Pittsburgh (again) into the mix later in the season. Counting up the positive losses and the hopeful victories, and the results are not too pretty for the Browns the rest of the way this season. We all knew after the first three games that it would be another long year in BrownsTown, but how do you think it will all end here in ’09? What does the schedule really say about the team’s chances?
Week 6 @ Pittsburgh – We covered the likelihood of a Browns win yesterday. But seriously, I have no idea when the Browns will win here anytime soon. No way the Browns win in this state in ’09. Prediction: “Not Gonna Happen”
Week 7 vs. Green Bay – Aaron Rodgers is playing very well and although the Pack was only 6-10 last year, they seem to be great against bad defenses with no QB rush. Browns can’t contend in a shootout. Prediction: “Probably Not”
Week 8 @ Chicago – In Soldier Field? The Bears picked up another cog to their defensive front, and with Jay Cutler winning over the city, they look like a playoff team. Stars would have to align for another upset. Prediction: “Not Gonna Happen”
Week 9 BYE WEEK – Cleveland Browns will probably be sitting at 1-7 or a fortunate 2-6
Week 10 vs. Baltimore – We saw what happened last time these two teams met. Add in a week 10 atmosphere, and the tough schedule coming up for the Ravens, and this could be ugly yet again. Prediction: “Not Gonna Happen”
Week 11 @ Detroit - After probably falling all the way to 1-8, the Browns finally get a reprieve on the schedule. If Calvin Johnson is healthy, Detroit can score but otherwise their offense is almost as bad. Prediction: “It Could Happen”
Week 12 @ Cincinnati - Bengals have already scored as many points in the second half and overtime in ’09 as they did in ’08. They could be the favorites in the AFC North and on the road, this could be very bad. Prediction: “Probably Not”
Week 13 vs. San Diego – A playoff team last year, the Chargers continue to be the perfect form of mediocrity in the regular season. The fire power of Phillip Rivers and LT will still be too much for the Brownies. Prediction: “Probably Not”
Week 14 vs. Pittsburgh – Round two against the dreaded Steelers. Everyone should be healthy for them and they could be in dire need of a win for their playoff chances. That means all bad for Cleveland. Prediction: “Not Gonna Happen”
Week 15 @ Kansas City – Only one more easy game means the Browns will probably 2-11 at this point. The Chiefs on the road looks tougher because they almost beat the ‘Boys last week, but it is really a toss-up. Prediction: “It Could Happen”
Week 16 vs. Oakland – A nice little end to the schedule continues with JaMarcus Russell and company. They actually have a win, but you couldn’t tell from Darren McFadden’s impact. Another ugly game… Prediction: “It Could Happen”
Week 17 vs. Jacksonville - The Jags are imploding offensively, have two wins on the season, and they were a playoff team back in ’07. Assuming thing continue to go downhill, this is another winnable contest. Prediction: “It Could Happen”
Review: There is a very strong possibility that the Cleveland Browns will travel to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City for week 15 with an abysmal 2-11 record. A nice end to the schedule would then really only matter for some good feelings and a lowering of our draft position. Last week’s win against the Bills was nice for at least the record books, but the losses will continue to pile up and more sad faces from Brady Quinn (as seen above) are probably on the horizon. There are a total of four “It Could Happen” games, three “Probably Not” contests and four “Not Gonna Happen” affairs. Going by that math above, it certainly seems that the Browns will finish the season with no more than six wins but more likely it will be around three to five victories.
Anyone out there think they could win more than five games? Would it even matter besides draft positioning? Share your thoughts on the 2009 season in the comments.
(The photo above is courtesy of Associated Press/Gail Burton and was found here.)