Saturday, December 31, 2005

Browns v. Ravens

Something's got to give here--the Ravens haven't won a road game all season, while the Browns haven't won a division game all season. However, the Ravens still play ferocious defense, and currently are the AFC's 2nd ranked defensive unit overall. What's more, after an atrocious 2-7 start, the Ravens have won four of their last six, have scored 78 points in their last two games, and are coming off back-to-back wins against Green Bay and Minnesota.

The Browns, on the other hand, haven't scored a touchdown in 10 quarters, are coming off the Nightmare Before Christmas, and now have to deal with the distraction of the soap opera between Collins and Savage. Listen to the pregame shows tomorrow. At least one football pundit will tell you that how the Browns respond to all this adversity tomorrow will show just how far this team has (or hasn't) come this season.

That's a nice sound bite, but of course, it's nonsense. Remember, even Butch's Browns could come up with those last game victories that falsely raised fans' hopes. The Browns knocked the Bengals out of the playoffs in 2003's last game, and even last year's catastrophically bad team managed to beat the Texans in 2004's finale.

Win or lose, this game means nothing for the future of the Browns. What's happening in Berea right now and what will happen over the course of the next several weeks is much more significant than a meaningless game between two sub-.500 teams. Don't forget that, because if the Browns pull off the upset tomorrow, you can bet your life that the happy talk from the front office is going to start in earnest.

Ravens 23, Browns 6.

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