The Cleveland Browns played five of their first seven games on the road, but now play five of the next six games at home. Will that help them get their first win?
Predictable as it may have been, the Cleveland Browns remain the only winless team in the NFL as they head into Week 8.
Injury problems, a tough schedule, questionable calls by officials and head-scratching clock management can receive a large portion of the blame, but this team simply is bad. Really bad. Inexperience combined with a lack of chemistry has the new rebuild exactly where the organization should be in a youth movement. At the top of the draft board.
The next few games for the Browns are not necessarily easy, however there should be a win or two coming up. They host NFC East teams such as the Dallas Cowboys (5-1) and New York Giants (4-3), as well as all three division opponents.
Cleveland will host the New York Jets this Sunday to begin the homestand. The Jets, who were highly praised entering the season, have failed to meet expectations so far. They are a disappointing 2-5 and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has recently blasted the front office and coaches for not believing in him. He was benched for Geno Smith, although Smith tore his ACL in his first start forcing the Jets to turn back to Fitzpatrick.
If Joe Haden is able to play (he is listed as questionable), the Browns should have a shot at their first win of the season. If not, Brandon Marshall will have every opportunity to display a dominating performance.
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A week after the Jets, the Cowboys come to town and it’s still unsure who will start at quarterback for them. Dak Prescott has led the way early on due to Tony Romo’s injury, but Romo was back at practice this week. The Cowboys will have a tough decision to make, but this week’s game against the division rival Philadelphia Eagles should help determine which route they elect to go.
Either way, this is likely the Browns toughest game during this stretch and only an excellent game plan and equal execution will help them survive. This is among the Browns biggest games on their season schedule, along with the New England Patriots, and a win heading into their next four games (three in-division) would be an enormous momentum shift for this team.
With Josh McCown returning from his shoulder injury the Browns may have their greatest opportunity to score so far this season. Of course, Cleveland has already went through half a dozen quarterbacks in 2016 including several rookies.
McCown ranked No. 14 among quarterbacks in 2015 for total QBR and established a strong connection with tight end Gary Barnidge – earning Barnidge Pro Bowl honors last season. Rookie receiver Corey Coleman is expected to return against Dallas on Nov. 6 or against the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 10 and should contribute immediately as well.
The Browns have been injured and with three dozen players 25 or younger it’s tough to imagine this team to earn many wins. Add in the fact they have been on the road for the majority of the season, and the situation becomes even more difficult.
Having home-field advantage will certainly help this young team and hopefully they can garner some good attention and earn some wins.