Misery loves company
Millennials would never know this, but these are two historic NFL franchises. Problem is, the Browns haven't won a championship in 53 years, and the Lions haven't won one in 60. More than that, they also share another less-than-distinguised title: they're two of only four teams that have never been to the Super Bowl (Texans and Jaguars are the others). Two teams that never get to the top of the mountain, two fan bases that wonder if they ever will. The Tailgate crew weighs in on what it would mean to the NFL if somehow one of these teams ever did.
Chief of Staff
As in Stafford, because the Lions have one thing the Browns do not: a franchise quarterback. Matthew Stafford is good for 4,000 yards per year. He's done it five straight years, and six seasons ago topped 5,000. It helped to have Megatron all those years, but Calvin Johnson is now retired and Stafford is still slinging it. The critics will claim that he racks up the numbers against weaker teams, and can't win the Big One. Well, he's facing a weaker team on Sunday. We'll talk about what the Browns need to do defensively to have a shot.
That would be OUR quarterback, DeShone Kizer, who grew up a Lions fan in Toledo but now needs to take them down. Kizer didn't really get a bye week; his was blown up by the 'trade' for his replacement, A.J. McCarron. Yeah, the deal fell through, but Kizer now knows where he stands with his coaches. The only thing he can do is play better, start winning, and force them to keep him. Josh Cribbs, who has been in Kizer's corner since Day One, will tell us exactly what Kizer needs to do against this vulnerable Lions pass defense (ranked 23rd) to get it done.
Of course, it's not all on Kizer. Every quarterback has failed this season, because the game plan is erratic and the offense inconsistent. Well, it's consistent in one way: consistently bad. The Browns are ranked 29th in passing touchdowns, 31st in points. They're not going to come out of Ford Field with a win unless they can get on the scoreboard...often. Now the bad news: the Lions are strong against the run (6th). I don't know how Kizer and the offense are going to offset that, but my Tailgate friends might. They are the experts, after all.
Just win, baby
Nothing is going to ease the tensions in Berea except a win at this point. Hue Jackson said it himself on Thursday, when he walked into the press room in what he called "a bad mood". Why? "I'm tired of freaking losing." Everybody is, coach. And despite Sashi Brown's insistence that everyone's still on the same page and harmony remains at Browns headquarters, midway through another disastrous season the wheels are threatening to come off. The team is still playing hard for Jackson. For now. But with Corey Coleman still a week away, and Josh Gordon three weeks away, another receiver (or three) must step up and make a difference in this game. We'll break out our predictions on who that will be.
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