The Cleveland Browns have started 0-2 once again this year, and we think it is a reflex for the fans and media alike to start thinking another disastrous season is ahead for the team.
While it is a possibility that Hue Jackson ends the season with a 2-14 season, we still think that the 5-11 mark we expect is still very much in play.
We know the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Browns’ opponent in the home opener are the favorites to win the AFC North, and for all we know, the Baltimore Ravens could be a 10 win team as well.
That’s why you can’t overreact to things after just two weeks.
The next four games come against opponents which should give people an idea if the Browns have indeed improved from the 1-15 mark a year ago, and being widely regarded as the worst team in the NFL.
Next week, Cleveland visits Indianapolis to visit a Colts team that is without Andrew Luck and has the same record as Jackson’s squad at 0-2.
They will be starting Jacoby Brisset, making his fourth career start, a far cry from Super Bowl winners Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco.
The Colts lost to playoff contender Arizona in overtime on Sunday, but were hammered by the Rams in week one. Let’s just say the Browns’ foes are in a higher class than those teams.
Then come home games against Cincinnati and the New York Jets, both sitting at 0-2, the same as Cleveland.
The Bengals have already replaced their offensive coordinator, and have looked dreadful against the Ravens and Texans.
Meanwhile, the Jets are copying what Sashi Brown did a year ago, jettisoning many older players and collecting draft picks, probably in an effort to take a shot at the possible franchise quarterbacks coming out in the 2018 NFL Draft.
They are starting Josh McCown at QB, and their losses have been against another rebuilding team in Buffalo, and a pummeling by the Raiders.
Then comes another road game at Houston (1-1), a team whose win is against Cincinnati and they lost to another team that usually drafts in the top ten, the Jacksonville Jaguars.
These four opponents are more in the Browns’ “weight class” than the mighty Steelers and the perennial playoff contender Ravens.
This isn’t to say the Browns will win all four games, or even two of them, but they have a better shot at victories against this quartet than they did in the first two games.
And remember that Cleveland is starting a rookie quarterback, and it would be more the norm than not to expect up and down performances from a player just entering the league.
However, we would still like to see a more simplistic approach from the coaching staff. We would like to see more of an emphasis on the ground game using an offensive line that the front office spent a boatload of money on.
For all we know right now, the Steelers and the Ravens could be two of the three or four best teams in the AFC. If you can’t get some victories against the next four teams, then there will be reason for panic and concern.
Right now, Browns fans just need to relax just a little bit.