Resident handicapper Roger Cohen is feeling something special in the air for Sunday as the Cleveland Browns return home to face the New England Patriots.
Our picks limped through a creaky 2-3 last week, but like any desperate soul, we’re about to take a bold leap off the highest cliff.
WARNING! WARNING! Survivor Pool Bettors: Avoid the New England Patriots on Sunday because the Cleveland Browns might pull off the biggest upset of the 2016 NFL season, maybe the biggest upset of the 21st Century. Maybe.
Sure, my “I’m glad I gave up gambling” picks have stunk through the quarter pole, but I did correctly predict the last two Browns games, including nailing both the blown placekicks against Miami and the multiple fumbles in Washington.
I would feel more confident about a Browns upset if the Pats hadn’t been shut out 13-0 by the Buffalo Bills last Sunday, nullifying their chance at a perfect season (and a Hindenburg-like explosion by Buffalo head coach Rex Ryan), but there is some twisted logistical basis for my “Browns will shock the world” October Surprise:
- The Browns will win a game this season. Maybe.
- Belichick and Brady lost 34-14 the last time they came to Believeland, losing to another weak-armed rookie Browns quarterback barely old enough to drink.
- I’ve got to write something outrageous to generate some reader comments for Dawg Pound Daily. It’s some kind of weird SEO thing …
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Of course, Brady probably spent his Deflategate suspension fantasizing about the Browns toothless pass rush and a “not quite Minnifield & Dixon” secondary now anchored by the “is that French or just a misspelling” Briean Boddy-Calhoun whose official Browns bio doesn’t even include his picture or a biography!
The realistic “it’s still Cleveland” fan in me recognizes Brady may throw six touchdown passes by halftime and I see Browns fans flooding back to the Muni Lot just in time to watch the Tribe get swept by the Red Sox. (Cue a new Mike Polk Jr. Bloody Cleveland Sunday/Boston Massacre video.) But then, maybe 2016 is the new normal in Cleveland.
Since we picked five games last week and our Browns bet should count for more than one, we’ll go with this Trifecta in Week 5:
- Browns +10.5 vs. Evil Empire – Despite a couple more Cody Parkey blown kicks, Duke Johnson busts a long second-half catch and run, and Monsieur Briean prevents another “here we go again Brownies” heart-breaker with a game-saving pick of new parolee Brady.
- San Diego Chargers +3.5 at the Oakland Raiders – The Chargers have blown more fourth quarter leads than any team in NFL history and I thought it was a misprint when the Browns weren’t even on the list!
- Debate Alternative Programming Special: New York Giants +7.5 at the Green Bay Packers – If Eli Manning keeps throwing killer interceptions, he may take up brother Peyton’s invite for Sunday morning nachos. (Donald Trump was right – more Cheeseheads will be watching the game than the debate. Does that help or hurt his Badger State chances?)
Last week 2-3. Season record 6-11.