Can They Do It?
Can the Cleveland Browns actually clinch a playoff spot? For the first time since 2002 and for only the second time since their return in 1999. This year will be the third time since 1999 that they have had a winning record. Sorry to depress any Browns fans, but those are the facts. This will be a celebration of sorts, but the way that QB Baker Mayfield has been playing I wouldn’t get too excited. The defense has been playing well and the offense when they run the ball effectively are very good. The Browns will play Tennessee and Baltimore the next two weeks. They play Pittsburgh to end the season, but play both New York teams before that. It’s a favorable schedule. This sounds too good to be true, but the Browns are in a good spot to play in January.
Can Anyone Stop Him?
Short answer is yes. QB Patrick Mahomes in his 50-touchdown pass MVP season didn’t win the Super Bowl. They didn’t even make it to the Super Bowl. Nothing is guaranteed in this league. With that said it’s been a while since I’ve seen a quarterback dominate the way he has. They’ve only lost one game and he’s thrown interceptions in only two games and they were both against Las Vegas. If any defense from here on out thinks that it’s a wise plan to cover WR Tyreek Hill in a man-to-man set, you’re asking for a deep touchdown pass. Any quarterback can be beat. The greatest quarterback I’ve ever seen in Tom Brady has lost 3 Super Bowls in his career. There’s only one way to stop a great quarterback and that’s to put constant pressure on him. From the opening kickoff until the final whistle. If you let up, he will make you pay for it.
When Will They Learn?
To say the Matt Patricia era in Detroit was a disaster isn’t enough. With GM Bob Quinn also getting fired shows the whole regime was a colossal failure. The ownership of the Ford family is in a state of flux and that doesn’t bode well going forward. Assuming they hire the right football mind for the front office job, they will find the right head coach. I don’t know who would want this job as of right now. There are rumblings about QB Matthew Stafford’s future there which is insane to me. The defense has actually regressed under the almost 3 years of Patricia at the helm. He was the defensive coordinator of a Super Bowl winning team in New England. I would assume Belichick would welcome him back, but who knows. Bob Quinn when he fired former head coach Jim Caldwell after a 9-7 season wasn’t satisfied with that. Even though Caldwell had two playoff appearances and seasons of 11-5, 7-9, 9-7 and 9-7 under his belt. The last time a Detroit head coach had two playoff appearances was in 1997 and 1999 under Bobby Ross. Caldwell did it in 2014 and 2016. Sure you want more, but looking back Caldwell should have gotten another shot. Instead Quinn hired his guy from the New England circle they were both accustomed to. Now it has failed spectacularly. This is the time that everyone should learn this lesson, not just in Detroit. What one team does for over two decades and has tremendous success, will almost never be duplicated in other environments.