If you believe your team is the underdog going into the game, you need to begin the game as if you are already behind by the projected point spread. This is not to induce panic mode; the idea here is to play the game with a sense of urgency. Also, this is not to immediately get into passing mode. But it might mean playing up-tempo with an attacking game plan.
To be avoided is the conventional idea that all NFL teams carry the basic talent level. In this mindset, the game is determined by who can make plays and avoid stupid mistakes. This is not the Browns game as the Browns will make mistakes. To compensate for this, they need to attack, play aggressive and play fearless. Simply embrace the idea that mistakes and stupidity will happen, but keep your foot on the gas pedal regardless.
Corollary: When you are behind, do not play like you are behind. This may sound dumb but it is smarter than it sounds. When a team gets behind, the conventional wisdom is to begin passing the ball to “catch up” or get a quick score or two. This approach must be abandoned with this team. The Browns must stop playing like they are behind per conventional wisdom.
Instead, the Browns should play with an up-tempo sense of urgency but with the same balanced run-to-pass ratio. Continue to set up plays and run a normal offense. Teams are expecting the pass and the Browns do not have the quarterback to win a game using this strategy. Just utilize a close to 50-50 ratio on run-pass.
The running game will de facto be more effective because they opponent is expecting a pass. It will allow the offense to control the line of scrimmage and protect the quarterback better when a pass is called. Most importantly, starting going for it on fourth down.