These next four weeks should be a bit of a relief for the Cleveland Browns. After matching up against five playoff caliber teams in five weeks, the Browns catch a break in their schedule. They won't look back and worry about what is now in their rear view mirror; they will focus on the mediocre NFL units that are to come. A cautious approach should be taken regardless, because any NFL team is capable of winning, and should be taken seriously. Coach Eric Mangini is well aware of this. Fortunately for his team, things will be a little easier this time around.
When the Brown's schedule first came out, my eyes couldn't help but zero in on the middle of the pamphlet, the part that included New England, New Orleans, New York, and Atlanta. After that, it seemed that the Browns were in the clear until the final two weeks where they host the Baltimore Ravens and the hated rival Pittsburgh Steelers.
Ten-and-thirty one are the four team's combined record for the 2010. But a true fan knows that one's perception of what is, and what isn't a valid NFL team should not be based on record alone. However, these numbers are a bit more revealing as compared to others.
Carolina's lone win was against San Francisco by three points; if not for that, they'd be winless for the year. Although the Buffalo Bills have heated up recently, they have compiled only two victories. Cincinnati proved that last year's surprise season is anything but in their back pocket for a repeat at the AFC North title for this season; courtesy of a duo of loud mouth receivers who've put more work into typing their twitter updates during a game rather than help their team win on the field.
No names please.
Miami may be the only respectable team of the bunch. At 5-5, they stand in the middle pack of the NFL power ranking chart. Though, only two of their five wins come against teams with above par records (Green Bay and Tennessee). They've got the best offense of the four upcoming Browns' opponents; or at least they were supposed to. Currently underachieving on that side of the ball, their abilities are limited with injuries to their top two quarterbacks. The Dolphins may be headed towards fizzling out for the rest of the year if they could only manage 187 net yards of offense and only one rushing first down.
If the Browns are going to fight for 60 minutes and actually get it done on the gridiron anytime, these next four games must be it. They dealt blows to the Patriots and Saints, so Cleveland should be capable of beating Buffalo, Carolina and Cincinnati in their sleep. Well, maybe not; the Browns core is still a young core. But they should at least be able to come out on top when the clock hits zero in the fourth quarter.