Depression creeps in during the holidays, so do yourself a favor and do not watch this game if you are a Browns fan. It's like paying to see the newest Alamo or Titanic movie and then complaining about the ending. This Sunday just say NO!!
The Browns are on their 4th quarterback. They haven't scored an offensive touchdown in 5 games. The team has given up. Their head coach is about to be fired and, to make matters worse, your defensive linemen is throwing punches and weights at the quarterback you gave up a first and second to acquire.
Meanwhile, the Steelers are possibly the best team in football and, since the expansion year of '99, they have owned the Browns. It won't be any better on Sunday. The Steelers are showing some cracks as their running game has been slowed over the last few weeks. The Browns' run defense is certain to cure that ill along with two weeks of rest before their next game. The only real hope for the Browns is if the Steelers decide to begin resting players this week, the Browns defense and special teams can find a way to score at least 14 points and the Browns offense actually finds some way to contribute.
There are, however, many games that should provide loads of entertainment. How about the Lions vs. Packers?
This is a win/win game. You either get to see the Detroit Lions pull off the miracle and beat the Green Bay Packers or you get to see the Lions become the first team to go 0-16 -- and you thought no one could be worse than the Browns. Well maybe you are right, but just be thankful the Browns aren't hosting the Lions this weekend.
Hmm, you need more excitement than an 0-15 team trying to make it into the history books?
The AFC East is set to provide a great deal of drama. If the Dolphins beat the Jets, then they win the East; however, the Jets have owned the Dolphins in winning 17 of their last 21 meetings and, historically, the Dolphins are a very poor team in cold weather.
If the Jets win, they must depend on Bills to defeat the Patriots in order to make the playoffs. Would Mangini and the Jets give their best effort at 4 pm knowing a win would propel the Patriots into the playoffs? You can't help but think that if the Patriots win the Jets might decide to give their youngsters some valuable experience.
You need more? If the Dolphins and the Patriots win, the Ravens will need a win against the Jaguars to secure the final Wild Card seed. The Jaguars are more than capable of pulling off the upset and spoiling the Ravens' plans, especially with a young quarterback at the helm.
I know that is a bit complex so lets move on to something less complicated. The Chargers host the Broncos and the winner walks into the playoffs with the AFC West title in hand, while the loser goes home. It is that simple. This should be a game of big plays and very little defense.
While the Giants have clinched and the Viking are in a must-win situation to hold on to the NFC North crown, don't expect the Giants to lay down for anyone. Tom Coughlin believes in playing every game to win. In the Giants' season finale last year, they faced the undefeated New England Patriots. They could have easily rested their players in preparation for the playoffs, but instead gave it everything they had and that attitude gave them the confidence to defeat the very same team during their rematch in the Super Bowl. This should be one of the best games on Sunday's menu.
The last game on my list is the Cowboys visiting the Eagles. Nothing would brighten up Eagle fans more than to spoil the plans of the Cowboys along with former Eagle Terrell Owens. Cowboys QB Tony Romo has been ill this week and facing this Eagles defense will not help matters. This game has all the makings of an instant classic, what with the bitter rivalry, coaches on the hot seat, quarterbacks on the hot seat, rookies on the big stage and playoff hopes on the line. It doesn't get better than this.
While the season may be over for the Browns, the playoffs are coming along with dramatic changes for this historic franchise. Some of you may have given up on the Browns and decided to take a break from The OBR, but this is indeed the perfect time to come back home.
With possible firing and hiring at record pace along with the draft and free agency, it is time to renew your subscription to The OBR for the best Cleveland Browns coverage that you will find. This is going to be the most exciting offseason since the return.
How, Jeff B. wonders, can so many praise a defense that has performed so poorly?