The Cleveland Browns still have a path to the AFC North title, which is crazy, considering how inconsistent and full of heartbreak the 2021 version of our orange helmets have been.
What’s even more amazing, is that the path to first place isn’t all that complicated. The Browns, of course, must win both of their final two games against the Steelers and Bengals, while the Ravens must also lose one of their final two. The Rat Birds have the Rams and the Steelers on the docket.
The fourth game of significance is next weeks’ Bengals’ game. Cincinnati gets the Chiefs at Arrowhead. If Kansas City pulls it out, then it could come down to the regular-season finale at Browns’ Stadium.
There’s gravy to cover all of this mess, too. If the Browns, somehow pull off a New Year’s miracle and get that playoff berth, the team will host a playoff game! It would mark the first time the team has hosted a postseason game since Bill Belichick and Vinny Testaverde beat Drew Bledsoe and the Patriots back in January of 1995.
Of course, all these scenarios do is build up hope, and considering how the last two weeks have gone, we’re only going to be disappointed.
But hey, that’s why were fans. How many seasons have we watched where the Browns were eliminated by the end of September?
For as rough as things have been this season, they’ve got got a chance, and that’s all I need.
For what it’s worth, I’m more worried about Cincinnati than I am Pittsburgh. Joe Burrow just threw for 525 yards and four scores while carving up the Ravens, 41-21.
He’s poised to become the gold standard of the division, who will be a thorn in Cleveland’s side for years to come.
Sitting in the basement and typing this up, Sunday Night Football’s on and just showed Taylor Heinicke’s stats. The WFT’s QB has 19 touchdowns against 13 picks and a rating of 89.3. Baker Mayfield has 15 scores against 11 picks and a rating of 86.1.
No one’s giving Heinicke $30 million per season. The Browns won’t be giving it to Mayfield, either.
I’m also thinking about what John Johnson III live tweeted during the game about running the ball. Not a great look for Kevin Stefanski to have your starting safety calling out the game plan from his couch.
Something’s off-tilt in the Browns’ locker room this season, and I’m not sure we’re ever going to get the whole story.