Handling Success: Next Steps
Now that the Browns have ended their long (long) losing streak, the main question is – how are they going to react to being successful? With they assume the team has done their jobs and can go into cruise control? Or is the young club hungry enough to start rattling off multiple victories in a row? There are three vital areas surrounding the team that could help determine whether the team will win.
Baker’s First Start
Let’s start with the positive; Baker Mayfield will not enter this game with a fourteen point deficit (barring something wildly terrible
happening for the Browns). On the other hand, this is the first opportunity for another franchise to game plan for the rookie. I have faith Baker will have a solid performance, likely not as well as he did last Thursday however. He should put together a winning output that can propel the offense to victory.
Baseball dirt in a football stadium? What year is it? Where are we? Ah yes, in Oakland we will see this on Sunday (as the Athletics will continue to use the field for some time). The Browns will have to ensure they will not lose footing in those areas – be it a wide receiver, quarterback, or kicker. The Raiders are used to this being their home stadium, but I hope it’s not their home field advantage.
Back to Being a Dog
Following being a home favorite for the first time in nearly three years, the Cleveland Browns are back to being underdogs on the road to a winless club. I have to admit that I was surprised to see the line open up the way that it did – but perhaps that will put a chip on the shoulders of Baker Mayfield and the rest of the club. I expect Derek Carr to play better than he has been so far this season, but the Browns’ defense should still make some plays.
Conclusion: Immediately following the win over the Jets, I looked at the schedule and thought “oh, there’s a ton of wins on the horizon”. After calming down and taking it week by week, I know that this will be a very tough matchup. They could afford to get two to three more turnovers, as I fear that will lose at least one themselves. Whether the offense or defense is on the field at the end of the game, I believe the Browns will win. I shudder to think about this coming down to special teams – as the Browns have not had the upper hand in that department.