Wednesday, December 19, 2007

No Bungle in the Jungle

Win and they're in. That's all the Browns have to do. Win and they're in the playoffs.

This is a trap game. Everyone has already pointed that out. The Browns have to go on the road where they don't play well. The weather is supposed to be cold and rainy which will neutralize the Browns powerful offense. The Bengals will be jacked up to ruin the Browns' playoff hopes just like the Browns did to them a few years ago. The Bengals are a divisional foe and extra familiar with the Browns. The Bengals O always gives the Browns trouble.

I don't give a sh*t.

This team has a lot to play for. Lose and they have to look for help to get into the playoffs. They still have a shot at a division championship. They finally have two Pro Bowlers in Josh Cribbs and Braylon Edwards... but should have had more. They are garnering attention from the national media but the national media still doesn't believe.

I expect the Browns to come into this game pissed off. Despite more than doubling their win total from last year they have received little or no credit from a lot of pundits. Kellen Winslow and Joe Thomas were left off that Pro Bowl roster despite being more deserving that some of the players at their position that were selected. Eric Steinbach and Derek Anderson are first alternates but maybe they want to make some of their peers doubt their vote. Jamal Lewis is at a point where the more yards he gains the higher his incentive bonuses go. Braylon Edwards is on the cusp of breaking all of the Browns' single season receiving records. The defense has been playing better in recent weeks and wants to show the world that it isn't a fluke. These guys are still hungry. You could see it in their eyes and play in the snow. The WANTED to be there. They WANTED that game. They WANT the win in Cincinnati more than the Bengals.

Carson Palmer, Rudi Johnson and TJ Housmanzadeh are banged up. The Bengal offensive line has been in shambles since Eric Stienbach defects to Cleveland. Leigh Bodden is looking for retribution on Ocho Cinco. The Bengals are hurting and a huge disappointment. Still dangerous but teetering on packing it in. I expect the driven Browns to come out firing and but the Bengals out of their misery early and often. The Browns are a better and driven team. The Bengals are a rudderless ship in the night.

The Browns have pride in themselves, their team and their town. Why?



Sunday, December 16, 2007

One Great Snow Job

This one turned out a little better than the Indians Home Opener. The Browns battled the elements and battered the Buffalo Bills on their way to a 8-0 victory. The win puts the Browns at 9-5, tied with the Steelers who lost to Jacksonville 29-22, atop the AFC North. The victory eliminates the Bills, Broncos and Texans from playoff contention. The Titans did not cooperate, beating the Chiefs, but the Browns still control their own destiny and a win at Cincinnati next week puts the Browns in the playoffs.

The Browns were aggressive from the first snap, balancing the passing game with the rushing attack, something the Bills were unable to do all day. Braylon Edwards and Joe Jurevicius made some clutch, and in Edwards' case amazing, catches to keep the Bills defense honest as the Browns rode Jamal Lewis to the 8-0 victory. Lewis rumbled for 163 yards, many of them rough, punishing runs that zapped the life out of Buffalo.

The special teams also shined bright with Dave Zastudil and the punt coverage team, minus one 7 yard punt and a Buffalo fake punt, kept the Bills pinned back in their own end for the majority of the game. The Browns also benefited from a safety after the Buffalo long snapper snapped it over punter Brian Moorman's head. Moorman kicked the ball out of the endzone and into the stands for 2 points. But not enough can be said for the job done by Phil Dawson. Two incredible field goals in horrendous conditions. One a 35 yard slice job that he aimed right and let the wind blow back through the uprights and an amazing 49 yard line-drive bomb that barely got 10 feet in the air but made it over the crossbar and hit the centrifuge to give the Browns the 8-0 lead and ultimately, the victory.

The snow provided the perfect opportunity for the much maligned defense a chance to pitch a shutout. Andre Davis reeked havoc in the Bills backfield all day and the Browns sold out to stop the duo of Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson. It was obvious from the start that the Bills did not want anything to do with the passing game. The Browns D still gave up their fair share of yards but each and every time they needed to hold and that's what matters. They gave up 0 points and even it a blizzard, that's tough to do.

So it's off to Cincinnati with the playoffs on the line. Who would of thunk it??? Nine wins. Who would have thunk it??? A division title still a remote possibility. Who would of thunk it???

Only one place... BELIEVELAND!