3. Browns feel like underdogs
The Browns head into the Sunday Night as the early favorite, according to some Vegas lines, but in this matchup, Cleveland feels like an underdog, and that’s a good thing because it’s when the Browns are at their best.
The Browns were favorites against the Titans and got blown out. Against the Jets on Monday Night Football, Cleveland pulled out the win, but looked tight in the process as the team–the offense, especially–clunked along.
It starts with quarterback Baker Mayfield, who has risen to superstar levels because of the enormous chip on his shoulder. He believes everyone is against him and that “Me against the World” mentality meshes well the “Cleveland against the World’ attitude shared by many northeast Ohioans.
Looking back at last season, not much was expected from the Browns halfway through the season. Hue Jackson and Todd Haley had been fired and they appeared to have done damage to Mayfield’s progression.
Then Cleveland shocked the NFL, going 5-3 in its final eight games. The Browns embraced the role of being the up-and-comers ready to surprise. Then this year, expectations jumped by leaps and bounds. Perhaps it was premature for a first-year head coach and second-year quarterback.
Hopefully, the Browns embrace the underdog role in Week 3 and play with a little more ease against the defending NFC champions.