Now that they finally have a win under their belt, the Cleveland Browns have a critical game coming up this Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.
It’s not important in terms of playoffs or anything like that, that’s really far-fetched, but if Pat Shurmur wants to show improvement record wise over last year, then they could really use a win this weekend.
A victory would constitute a winning streak and raise the team’s record to 2-5, and there is no question this game can be won.
The Colts have perhaps the best quarterback to enter the league since Peyton Manning in Andrew Luck, and of course, we all know of his ties to Cleveland, with his father playing at St. Ignatius, but remember they got Luck because they had the worst record in the NFL last season.
They also have trouble stopping the run, which should mean a steady dose of Trent Richardson and now, we have to include Montario Hardesty based on Sunday’s win.
Being 2-5 and winning the last two would bode much better for the future than 1-6 with a loss to the Colts.
That’s because the rest of the schedule doesn’t seem as daunting as it once did.
We hate to play the schedule game before the season starts, but now that we have a gauge on teams are strong and which ones aren’t, we have a better perspective on what games can be one and which ones will be difficult to walk away with a victory.
Cleveland has games remaining with both the Raiders and Chiefs, two teams who have the same victory total as the Browns. When the various power rankings come out this week, don’t be surprised if Kansas City ranks 32nd.
The Browns also have already played the better teams in the NFC East, the Giants and Eagles, so they have Dallas and Washington remaining, with the Redskins at home.
The ‘Skins have the electrifying Robert Griffin III at quarterback, but remember they are another team that picked in the top ten in last spring’s draft.
The Cowboys are a mess, getting destroyed by the Bears two weeks ago, and then using horrible clock management to blow a potential win against Baltimore on Sunday.
Within the division, the Browns have three games left, two of them at home. The Steelers are struggling a bit right now, and the Ravens, who are 5-1, have all kinds of problems with injuries, particularly on defense.
And it’s not as though Baltimore dominated the Browns in their first meeting in the Charm City.
However, any positive momentum will develop with a victory this coming weekend at Indianapolis, which would put the Browns at 2-5.
Let’s say Cleveland can beat the Raiders and Chiefs, and pick up one more victory against Washington or Dallas. Mix in one more divisional win, and you wind up the season 6-10.
That’s a two game improvement from last season, a good step forward for Shurmur and GM Tom Heckert.
Another thing that bothers us is criticism of Heckert. Apparently, some fans think every draft pick should be an impact player, and hammer the GM for any pick that doesn’t work out, such as Greg Little and Hardesty.
However, look at guys like Billy Winn, Jason Pinkston, and even Buster Skrine and Trevin Wade. Those are all guys picked in the later round who can play in this league.
They may not be stars, but if they weren’t good enough to make the roster, then people would be all over Heckert for that. They are contributing, so you have to give him props for that.
It may be overly optimistic to project an improved record for the Browns after one win, but they games they have lost are all to teams .500 or better at this point, and they really haven’t been overmatched in any of them.
Still, a win on the road this weekend would go a long way in showing everyone that this isn’t the same old Browns.