Oct 26, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiverAndrew Hawkins
(16) celebrates with fans in the Dawg Pound after scoring a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Browns beat the Raiders 23-13. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Lack of 2014’s Energy
One of the biggest things going into the Thursday Night game versus Cincinnati last year was just how pumped up Cleveland was to go in to Cincinnati and take on the Bengals on their home field. At the time the Browns were 6-4 and the Bengals were on top of the AFC North, which made for a great TNF matchup.
Whitner even spoke to the team before the game to give them a little more motivation for that prime time matchup and it showed in the team’s play that night. Unfortunately, the Browns will not have that kind of energy this time around for a few reasons.
For starters, the gap between the two teams’ records is much larger than it was in 2014, five games in fact. The Bengals are running away with the division title while the Browns are avoiding the AFC North basement again. It is difficult to play against a team that is so much further ahead record-wise. That will play a part in this Cleveland’s preparation.
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Then there is the in the locker room talk. Between the rumors of distrust between the defensive roster and defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil, the trade rumors leading up to the trade deadline expiring, and the whole QB situation, the locker room is in shambles now.
The focus is not just going to be on the Bengals this week. Some of the focus will actually be on who will be here next year or even next week for that matter.
Let me remind everyone that the Bengals are 7-0 and are 5.5 games ahead of Cleveland. Every ounce of focus should be on the Bengals if they want any real chance of beating them. Unfortunately, it will not be like that and the Browns’ performance will suffer because of it.
Next: My Prediction