Browns Vs Steelers: The Mailbag Predictions

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
Browns Fan, Comedian And Upset If You Don’t Immediately Know The Opening Quote

And now, the end is near, and so I face the final curtain.

The 2015 Cleveland Browns season is barreling towards its conclusion with the all the subtlety of a flaming train car heading for a cliff in a World War II movie. Fellow fans, there’s really not much left to discuss. About the season, I mean. About the coming OFFseason? Oh, there’s a Great Googly Pile of things to discuss, so let’s focus on that this week, shall we? (I agree that we shall, so the vote on the board is a unanimous 1-0.) I’ll do this final column Mailbag Style, using questions sent in from my legions of pantsless, semi-sober, imaginary fans.

Dear Stephen,

Who will be the Browns head coach next year? Also, do you have any favorite shows to recommend that I might not be watching?

Matt, Hollywood

I’m on record since preseason as saying I think Pett gets another year, so I guess I might as well stick to my guns for one more day, right? (I must admit my stance has wavered since Chip Kelly was let go by the Eagles, not so much because I think he’s a fit in Cleveland, but because I think Haslam wants him.) There was a report early this week that Pett is staying, but Farmer and Defensive Coordinator Jim O’Neil are going to be run like George Bailey and Clarence Audbody getting tossed out of Nick’s. That could still end up being the case, so I’m going down with the ship on this one. If that scenario does indeed turn out to be true, one name I’d like to see considered for new DC would be Jim Schwartz. I like the attacking stye he runs, and while the Browns don’t currently have all of the personnel needed to run it at top level, it’s a much better scheme fit for their current players, in my opinion. Finally, if you’re not watching Episodes, Silicon Valley, Review: With Forrest MacNeil, Galavant, Shameless, House Of Lies and Vikings, you should. Immediately. (I’m assuming most people are already watching Fargo, House Of Cards and The Walking Dead, which is why they’re not on this list)


Dear Steve,

What do you want to do about Johnny?

Hayden, Minneapolis

Well, I think he’ll be OK in the trunk until after the meeting with Lenny The Squid. After that, we’ll figure out a spot to dispose of … oh, you meant Johnny Manziel? Not Johnny Two-Face? My bad. As a guy who’s been on the JFF train since September of his sophomore year at Texas A&M, who wanted him drafted, who’s wanted him on the field since this team was 2-4, I say: it’s time to move on. Trade Manziel while his value is still relatively high, and while Jerry Jones is still relatively batcrap crazy.


Dear Stevie,

Which is better, bacon or sex?

Sam, Boston

I hate you and I hope you die a painful, flesh eating virus style death for forcing me to even attempt this Sophie’s Choice. But since I’m married and never get to have sex, I’ll go with bacon. Besides, when I get old, bacon may be the only meat I can still get to crisp up. Oh, and if you ever call me Stevie again I’ll abduct you, toss you in the trunk with Johnny Two-Face, and force you to listen to Michael Bolton-Justin Beiber duets until you bash in your own skull with the tire iron.


Dear Stephen,

Who should the Browns draft with their 1st round pick in April?

Martin, Seattle

I’m on record for awhile now as saying they should draft a quarterback, whether they hold onto Johnny or not. No, QB play wasn’t their #1 problem this season. Yes, there are other impact players at the top of the draft. However, until you find a Franchise QB, none of the rest of it really matters. There’s plenty of time to get into this more deeply in offseason columns, and I will do so assuming I still have a job here, so I’ll keep it succinct today (succinct being a rather spicy form of broccoli and goat spleen soup in Estonia)(What? look it up!). I’ve been a Jared Goff guy all year, and although I can certainly see the value of Paxton Lynch, I’m sticking with my gut. One more weekend of my tanking slogan “Turn Your Head And Cough For Goff,” and then we get to spend the four most glorious months of the year on BrownsTwitter, screaming at each other with absolute certainty over player projections that are 50/50 educated guesses at best. Also, you should write to my Editors at MTAF and tell them I need press credentials for the NFL Draft in Chicago, so I can report firsthand on who eats the most mini-hot dogs at the parties, which team’s Draft HQ looks most like it came from a Quentin Tarantino movie, and which player’s Moms are too polite to say anything when I cut one while interviewing them.


Dear Stephen,

Do your really want MTAF to send you to cover The Draft? You? Instead of an actual journalist, or someone with correspondence school writing training, or at least someone who doesn’t rely on spellcheck for words like “mariachi?”

Dan, Lanford

Yes. They should get me full access press credentials. And travel. And a Per Diem. And an expense account. And a designated driver. And maybe some Skittles. Tweet at them @MTAFCleveland and tell them to send Stephen to the NFL Draft. TWEET AT THEM AND TELL THEM NOW!


Dear Stephen,

Are you ever going to get to the actual “predictions” part of this “predictions column?”

Archie, New York

Stifle yourself there, eh? OK, OK, here’s what I think will happen between the Christians and Lions … I mean Browns and Pittspuke on Sunday.


-Austin Davis will play decent, because he’s a decent quarterback – no more, no less. The numbers probably won’t show it though, since the Squealers will be highly motivated by their playoff push, and Davis will be running for his life most of the day. I say Davis goes for under 200 yards, no TD’s, 3 INT’s. But given the circumstances, it won’t be that bad.

-Dwayne Bowe will have two catches, giving everyone hope that he reaches nine for the year so they can tweet out their “That’s $1 million per catch!” jokes. Alas, he won’t make it.

-Travis Benjamin and Gary Barnidge will both come up short in their quest for 1,000 receiving yards. I do not believe Benjamin will be re-signed in Free Agency.

-I’m on a ship, so I won’t have to watch this travesty live. Instead I’ll simply chuckle and shake my head as the increasingly bad scores scroll by on the bottom of my screen, while being forced to watch the Patriots or Cowboys. Again. Every freaking week on a ship. #HammerSkull

-Ben Roethlesberger will make half a dozen plays that will, for the millionth time, make me shake my fist at the Kellen Winslow Jr pick. I mean, outside of Wrestling The Dragon in a Boston Market parking lot, when was the last time Winslow contributed anything entertaining?

-I would make a prediction about one of the Browns CB’s getting burned repeatedly, but at this point God alone knows which ones will be active and which won’t, and even He can’t figure out why.

-Duke Johnson will suffer an injury. I’m just hoping it’s not significant.

-The Browns will have less than 250 yards total offense.

-There will be so many Pittspuke fans in the stadium, that anyone who time traveled here from 1987 would be violently sick to their stomach, and wouldn’t believe the apathy that’s come over an entire generation of Cleveland fans. You need to get this fixed Mr Haslam, and soon, or you’re going to completely lose the Millennials.

Browns lose 38-3