According to Bloomberg, Eric Mangini has 3-2 odds of being fired after the season. That is the best odds among all NFL head coaches. Interestingly, Mangini’s counterpart in today’s final game of the season at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Jack Del Rio, is also at relatively good odds to be canned: 4-1. The Jags sit at 7-8 and have a very outside chance of making the playoffs as an AFC wild card team, but only with an awful lot of help around the League. For the full Bloomberg odds listings for all current NFL head coaches, click here: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601079&sid=aIbuu2dhUYTg.
The weather today in Cleveland will be a distinct advantage for the home-town Brownies. The Jaguars, not surprisingly, do not generally play well in cold, snowy and/or windy conditions.
The football game today will boil down to one key matchup – the Jags’ running game against Cleveland’s run defense. Jacksonville will not throw the ball often. The Jags’ best offensive weapon is Maurice Jones-Drew. MJD has helped Jacksonville become the 9th best NFL team in rushing yards this season. Maurice, alone, has 1309 rushing yards (4.4 yards per carry on average) and 15 touchdowns. The team averages 126.5 yards on the ground per contest. Those numbers could spell bad news for Cleveland as the Browns are 28th in the League in run defense, giving up an average of nearly 150 rushing yards per game. We have all the momentum and energy, however, as Jacksonville seems to be limping into the final game of the season.
We get the distinct impression that the result of today’s game will have no impact on Holmgren’s decision regarding Mangini’s fate. But from a fan’s perspective, it sure would be nice to say that we improved on last year’s record, even if by just one victory. And ending the season with 4 straight wins for the first time in an eternity in Cleveland (at least on the football field) would provide a nice introduction to a brand new decade. The Buckeyes did their part the other day with a very impressive win in the Rose Bowl over Oregon. Now it is up to the Browns. Go get ‘em boys!