The Last Game of the Season – Cleveland Browns
Well, the Browns finally broke though and pulled out a win last week; thankfully there will not be a parade to celebrate losing. Their game at Pittsburgh marks the last contest this campaign but not one where the team in orange and brown is expected to win. Nonetheless, let’s review a few key aspects of this matchup.
Little to Gain
Once again, the Steelers have already clinched a playoff berth and are locked in their spot as a divisional winner. Thus, there is not a ton to play for in this matchup (as they cannot obtain a first round bye) – at least on their end. I would expect Big Ben, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell (to name a few) to participate in this matchup but not for the entire contest. Will their backups be able to overtake the Browns’ starters? Outside of Landry Jones – I would not be surprised to see other reserves still making plays.
Any Sort of Confidence?
The Browns are coming off a victory; something that was over a year in the making. That said, will the taste of a win carry over into this contest? It is unlikely as they are facing a sound football team; however the Browns have not been in this spot under Hue Jackson. I am interested to see how the athletes respond and come out on Sunday. I feel this could be a close contest at Heinz Field.
Kessler Under Center
The concussion of Robert Griffin in last week’s contest paved the way for Cody Kessler to return to the lineup. The rookie will more than likely get the nod in this contest. In my estimation, he is the only signal caller on the roster who will be returning onto the 2017 squad. To what capacity might be determined by how he fares in this game. I expect Cody to revert back to his conservative style, in order to limit his potential mistakes. Perhaps he can come out throwing and hitting his targets in stride.
Conclusion: For the first time all season, the Browns were winners while I predicted them to lose. I would love for a repeat scenario on Sunday, but still expect the black and yellow to propel to victory. They appear to be an organization that wants to have positive momentum for the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Browns’ draft (and free agency) talk will continue to heat up in the coming months.