All posts by stephenthomas

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

#GoBrowns

Browns Vs Chiefs: Closer Than You Think Predictions

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
Browns Fan, Comedian And Smarter Than The Av-er-age Bear

OK, let’s dispense with the rest of the discussion about the Browns loss in Seattle and focus on the only thing anyone believes matters: How did Johnny play?

Discussing Manziel is an entertaining activity. Last Sunday evening I was in a Twitter conversation where I defended Johnny’s play, noted the multiple drops by folks posing as Wide Receivers, and was accused of being a Manziel Fanboy. Then on Monday I was in another Twitter conversation where I stated my long-held belief that the Browns need to take a Quarterback with their #1 pick in April, and was accused of being a Manziel Hater. Just for the record: It’s theoretically possible (and legally permissible) to believe that Johnny Manziel is showing much improvement, AND that he may not be the answer. There’s also no law stating that the Browns can’t take Goff/Lynch in the draft AND keep Manziel. (No really, I went to the UCLA Law Library and checked.)(OK, I went to the UCLA Law Library and asked a guy who looked kind of lawyer-ish.)(OK, it was a Buffalo Wild Wings, the guy was my waiter, and we discussed boobs. Shut up.)

The point is, as much as I’ve been in Johnny’s corner since long before the draft, I firmly believe that the opportunity to take a Top-Of-The-Draft Quarterback comes around so rarely, you simply cannot pass it up. I was impressed with JFF in the pocket last week (where, by the way, the beleaguered offensive line gave him far more time than I had anticipated they would), his decision making, and the zip he put on the ball into some small windows. I thought he played far better than the final numbers indicated, and took another step forward in his development. All of that being stipulated, the question remains: Can he be “The Guy?” I don’t know, none of us do at this point, but having another QB on the roster who might also be “The Guy” cannot be a bad thing. At the very least, Johnny has played well enough that my preseason prediction of Jerry Jones going full-Jerry and trading a #1 pick for Manziel is back within the realm of possibility. (BTW, for the hard core Manzealots out there, if by some miracle Dallas offers the #5 pick, you take it in a heartbeat, and I will fight you with raid squirrels on sticks in the town square at high noon if you disagree.)(What? It’s a thing.)

So Kansas City…

I know, I know; the Chiefs are among the best rushing teams in the league, and the Browns couldn’t stop the run if the fate of the planet hinged on it. I know, I know; The Chiefs defense is top 10, and the Browns offense couldn’t score on Prom Night at a public high school. I know, I know; the Chiefs are surging, have everything to play for, and have been one of he hottest teams in the league for two months, and the Browns are … the Browns. So why am I going to pick this game a lot closer than most other people and just barely chicken out from picking a win for the Browns & Orange? Well, because …. I don’t know. Just a gut feeling, combined with the fact that Chiefs have a Browns-esque habit of playing down to lesser competition. The Browns will keep this game close, but will fall in the waning minutes. However, it will not be another OIC moment – as I’ve told you, OIC finally left and followed the original Browns franchise to Baltimore following the Kick Six. Mark my words: OIC IS OVER. No, the Browns won’t lose because of OIC, they will lose because they stink. Isn’t that much better? Things are looking up, Cleveland!

What will happen in Arrowhead?

-Johnny will play decent once again, and will have a long TD throw on a vintage College-Manziel play, one of those reverse pivots away from pressure where the defender looks like Wile E Coyote before he falls off of a cliff.. Final numbers: 325 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT.

-Isiah Crowell will score a rushing touchdown. Crowell is a guy who I thought would progress father than he has this year, but if he has a couple more decent games to round out the season, could find himself back on the roster next year in a more defined rotation with Duke Johnson.

-Terrelle Pryor will catch a pass, and the Buckeye Fanboy contingent of BrownsTwitter will be absolutely unbearable for the entire offseason.

-I will be on a plane, flying back to LA from Ohio during the game. Consequently, my in-game chicken wing consumption will drop to embarrassingly low levels. The TSA gets really cranky when you try to carry a bag of 150 wings through security. (Although that little room they have in the back of the airport is actually quite nice. Cold during the strip search, but nice.)

-Gipson will have an INT, reminding everyone that though he’s had a tough, tough contract year, the Browns would be stupid to let him get away in free agency.

-Gary Barnidge will finish with double digit catches, including another TD. He and Gip have had polar opposite contract years.

-Alex Smith will play like Alex Smith, causing portions of BrownsTwitter to start the “Think of how many win the Browns wold have if they just had Alex Smith level QB play.” This will show once again that they don’t understand football, as QB has been problem #27 on the list of Browns woes this year.

-Dansby will once again finish with 10 or more tackles.

-At least two healthy inactives that will cause major head scratching, and give the “Fire Pettine And Shoot Pettine And Cut Out Pettine’s Heart And Let’s Beat Up Pettine’s Neighbors” crowd more ammunition. Even though I think he’s coming back next year, some of the inactive decisions this year have indeed been odd, and seem to follow no pattern.

 

-I will love an avi bet to @TheFakeNed, and will curse his name more frequently than usual all week. Isn’t betting agains the Browns too easy? Vegas should make it illegal or something.

Browns lose 30-24.

#GoBrowns

Browns Vs Seahawks: And The Walls Came Tumblin' Down Predictions

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
Browns Fan, Comedian And Still Not Sure What “On Fleek” Means

So for at least one week, we got to see how the other half lives.

Not only did the Browns win last week against San Francisco, they dominated. They dominated and the outcome wasn’t in doubt from about the middle of the 3rd quarter on. That’s rarified air for all of us Clevelands down here in Clevelandville, who are used to our few-and-far-between victories going down to the final agonizing ticks of both the clock and our hearts. After the game I thought “Is this how Patriots fans have felt every Sunday for the past fifteen years? Wow, no WONDER they’re such a bunch of arrogant jerkweeds!” It was nice, wasn’t it? Odd, in that I wasn’t really sure what to do on a Sunday evening without taking to Twitter and cursing everyone in Berea, but nice. The offense moved the ball both on the ground and in the air. The defense … actually played defense. No one from the coaching staff did anything so insanely stupid that it made me want to order an F-15 napalm strike on my television set. All in all, the Cleveland Browns looked like a professional football team.

(Hey Steve, talk about Johnny!)(Yeah, Johnny!)(We want to hear about Johnny!) (TALK ABOUT JOHNNY, JERKFACE!)

OK, OK, calm down! We all know what we saw. Johnny looked good, In fact, Johnny looked unquestionably, by far the best he’s ever looked, and that’s a great thing. However, taken as a single game, Johnny looked “decent.” I know he’s still young, I know he’s still learning, but if “decent” is not only by far the best he’s ever looked, but also enough to make half of BrownsTwitter coronate him as a Super Bowl caliber starter, I’d postulate that that says more about how disappointingly low the bar for quarterback play in Cleveland has been set than anything else. Those who regularly read me know that I’ve been on the Johnny train since the September before he was drafted. (Those who regularly read me also tend to drool quite a bit, but that’s neither here nor there) I’ve been in the guy’s corner, and I still am. The best thing for the Browns as a franchise would be for Jonathan Football to ball like he’s on Heisenberg Blue these next three games and prove that HE IS THE GUY. Realistically, I don’t see that happening. Let’s face it, the 49ers are abysmal, and the next three teams on the schedule are … well, not abysmal.

I’ll say the same thing about Johnny last week that I said about Cardale Jones when everyone lost their minds about his three game stretch last year: It was fun, it was great, it was nice, but it’s much, much easier to play quarterback when your team runs for 200+ yards and your defense stifles the other team like Edith Bunker. It was great to see the kid perform well, and I hope he keeps it up. However, until he puts on a similar performance against the Seattle/Kansas City/Pittsburghs of the world, I’ll hold back on fitting him for a gold jacket and a ticket to Canton.

So let’s see what the kid has. If he can keep this team competitive, with the dearth of talent at most of the offensive skill positions, then maybe the first round draft pick next year could get interesting. As it stands right now though, I’m 100% on a quarterback. (Currently Goff, but could easily be swayed to Lynch)

So what will happen in the land of Frasier Sunday?

-Johnny will make a couple of long plays with his feet. Mostly because he’ll have to – no one in the Browns WR corps will be able to create any separation. The Seahawks DB’s will be on them so tight, it’ll be like they’re standing next to the Browns WR’s at a urinal. (No talking. NO talking. NO TALKING AT A URINAL!) Because of JFF”s level of God-given athletic ability though, his numbers will end up looking better than they actually will be within the flow of the game. I’ll say 250 yards passing (a lot in garbage time), 40 rushing, 1 TD, 3 INT’s.

-The Browns running game will continue it’s spot-on impression of Punxsatawny Phil: A brief appearance last week, held up by morons in front of a cheering crowd, followed by six more weeks of brutal, cold, dark, miserable winter. Sorry, I can’t see the running game cracking the 50 yard mark (outside of Johnny scrambles).

-The game being on the west coast means I’ll have three extra hours of chicken wing and booze absorption before kickoff. I may just call that punk Kobayashi over and show him what a real chicken wing eating machine can do. Anybody can eat hot dogs by the pound. Whatcha gonna do with that little part of the wing in between the bones, eh Kobayashi? Huh? That’s where we separate the men from the … men with common sense! That’s right, you BETTER stay away from my couch. (Chicken wing bone drop)(Stalks offstage)(Heads directly to mens room and laments a lifetime of poor eating decision making)

-Duke Johnson will have a touchdown catch. He’ll also have several juke-filled plays that look great on film but only accomplish turning a 9 yard loss into a 2 yard gain.

-Paul Kruger will have two sacks. This will be the highlight of the defensive effort.

-The defense as a unit will give up over a 75% 3rd down conversion rate.

-The Terrelle Pryor contingent will be approached in annoying-ness only by the anti-Dwayne Bowe contingent.

-If Pryor catches a pass, someone somewhere will tweet about how “We don’t need to draft a WR next year.” I will sincerely hope this person gets repeatedly punched in the spleen.

-If Bowe catches a pass, then … HAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHHAA Yeah I almost got through that with a straight face. (“Bowe catches a pass.” Damn, I’m funny!)

-Mike Pettine’s sideline demeanor will once again embody all of the fun, craziness and unpredictability of a Buckingham Palace Royal Guard.

-My daughter will continue to insist that Die Hard is not a Christmas movie. During timeouts, I will Google “Methods Of Disowning Disappointing Children.”

Browns lose 38-14.

#GoBrowns

Browns Vs 49ers: #1 Pick Predictions

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
Browns Fan, Comedian And Dryer Sheet Aficionado

 
I’ll say this about the NFL team that resides in Cleveland, Ohio: They know how to keep our attention. I’m beginning to wonder if this franchise is actually “The Producers” of the NFL, a 22 man version of “Springtime For Hitler” that’s intentionally attempting to be awful to maximize profits.

Last week’s thunderhammer loss to the Bengals should have been the resounding final nail in the inescapable coffin that is this Browns season. Watching that game provided me with an approximation of how it must have felt watching television in The Soviet Union. (“Is good team, da? You like watching to end, da?” “Da Comrade, is good team.”) For some reason I, like most of you, did watch until the clock showed 0:00, despite having NFL Sunday Ticket and access to other games involving not one but TWO professional football teams on the same field. Why? Why did I watch to the end? I don’t know. Maybe I’m secretly a masochist, love the pain and agony, and eventually I’ll end up starring in “movies” on websites like TieMeDownInAChickenCoopAndElectrifyMyButt.com. (I can’t believe you just clicked on that link. Sicko.) It wasn’t the final nail, though, as the creative elements in Berea who consistently outshoot anything Hollywood has ever produced decided to reinsert Johnny Manziel back into the lineup, in an effort to simultaneously ruin their shot at the #1 draft pick in 2016 AND keep our rapidly forming torches-and-pitchforks angry mob at bay for at least one more week. It shouldn’t have worked, since (as crazy as it would have been to say this in August) quarterback play has actually been the strong point of the season on a roster otherwise full of insanely underperforming units, but it did.

Regardless of the motives behind the move, seeing whether or not Johnny can play like we all hoped Johnny would play is really the only reason to even turn on the TV this week. Johnny, hoping the Titans and Chargers win another game or two to give the Browns a clear path to the #1 pick, and the possibility that a funny new beer commercial might pop up. Other than that, I cannot imagine why any of us would spend three hours of an otherwise perfectly nice Sunday pointing our eyeballs at this travesty. At this point, I hope they do lock up the #1 pick, just so I can spend the next five months listening to Twidiots try to convince me that drafting a potential franchise quarterback isn’t the right move. (What makes it more fun is these are the same Twidiots who spent the past five months screaming – correctly – about how things will never change until the Browns find a franchise quarterback. Their total lack of self-awareness is staggering and entertaining, in a “Look at that monkey eating his own poop!” kind of way.)(Women think that’s gross. Guys fully understand why it’s hysterical.)

So now let’s turn our attention to what will occur Sunday, in the last realistic opportunity for a Browns-and-Orange “W” this season.

-Johnny will do some good things, some bad things, and some things that make everyone shout “HOLY SH*T ARE YOU FRICKIN’ CRAZY?!?!?” The 49ers are pretty awful, but they still have some playmakers here and there, so I fully expect a game of emotional Chutes-And-Ladders from JFF. Going to guess his stats land somewhere in the neighborhood of 260 yards, 1 TD, 1 rushing TD and 2 INT’s (one of them soul crushing).

-The rush defense will continue their season long vacation in Hawaii. Some players get to go there for The Pro Bowl. The Browns run defenders were very savvy, booked their trip early, and have been spending their Sundays singing Mele Kalikimaka starting in September. Giving up over 200 yards on the ground to Blaine Gabbert and former Brown Shaun Draughn will make it even more painful. I’m at a loss to explain how the run defense could possibly keep getting worse week to week, but there’s simply no denying it does.

-My level of sick-and-tired with the “I’m so-and-so and I have DirecTV/Cable” commercials will reach nearly to where I am with American Idol. What level is that? Well, “I cannot BELIEVE people still enjoy this utter garbage!” THAT level.

-Defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil will need to begin wearing a hat, a wig and some Groucho glasses to avoid being recognized in Cleveland. The pitchfork mob may not be storming The Berea Bastille just yet, but I doubt they’d have any issues with taking out one guy on the street.

-Gary Barnidge, fresh off a well deserved new contract signing, will have double digit catches.

-Karlos Dansby, fresh off collecting his first Social Security check, will have double digit tackles.

-Terrelle Pryor will have one catch for about eight yards, and the Twitter machine will go berserk. The “Browns Should Sign Every Former Buckeye Ever Ever” gang will be particularly insufferable. Perhaps by next year, Pryor could develop into a decent Wide Receiver, because he’s incredibly athletically gifted. However, to expect him to come in this year and play a position he’s never played at an NFL level was utter fantasy, and everyone pushing that narrative should be football-shamed.

-I won’t get mad and yell at the TV, no matter how bad it gets. I usually do, I’ve been a yell-at-the-game guy since I saw my Dad shouting incredibly creative curse words at Jack Lambert in 1978 and thought it was cool. At this point in what we laughingly call The 2015 Browns season though, it seems rather pointless, kind of like yelling at a particularly slow dog for eating crayons and throwing up in the ficus plant. It is what it is, folks, and no amount of screaming from my couch in Southern California – no matter how specific and genius my shouted football advice happens to be after four drinks and three dozen chicken wings – is going to change it.

-The number of “We’re getting beat this bad by BLAINE GABBERT?” tweets will number in the thousands.

-Phil Simms will continue his descent into madness. I know he’s not calling the Browns game. Just pointing it out.

Browns lose 38-23.

#GoBrowns

Browns Vs Bengals: Airplane! Predictions

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)

Browns Fan, Comedian And Tired Of The Gut Punches

 

As Travis Coons lined up for the potential game winning field goal Monday night, I actually murmured under my breath “It’ll probably get blocked and returned for a touchdown.” Then it happened, and my only reaction was to calmly say “You gotta be sh**ing me,” followed by a slight chuckle. That’s what life is like with this franchise. It doesn’t even hurt anymore. There are no nerve endings in scar tissue, and after 45 years as a Browns fan, scar tissue is all that’s left.

People often ask what it’s like to be a Browns fan. I ask them “Do you know what it’s like to fall in the mud, and get kicked in the head with an iron boot?” 

We all know what happened Monday night, so I won’t revisit it, except to say that in some strange way, it did have a feeling of finality to it, as if somehow this is the last and final “Rock Bottom” we’ll have to endure. I hypothesized after the first Baltimore game this year that maybe the “OIC” luck was finally following that franchise out of Cleveland. Twenty years after “The Move,” maybe, perhaps, hopefully, the dreadful breaks that always seem to befall this team are finally realizing that the Old Browns are now gone, and the chainsaw-to-the-spine karma needs to follow suit and also make the trip from Lake Erie to Baltimore Harbor. Maybe it just took two decades for the “Chi,” or the “Ka” or the “GurgledyBum” (or whatever Eastern word for aura you want to use) to move on. (Maybe the bad luck was on a flight to Baltimore that somehow veered miles off course, which seems impossible because airplanes are on instruments). Looking at what has befallen the Ravens this season, my hypothesis has a bit of merit. Injuries and bad bounces that have never – NEVER – happened to Baltimore are now happening in bunches. What used to be a franchise that got every break in the book is now experiencing the gut-wrenching flipside, so perhaps The Universe is finally remembering that those Ravens came from Cleveland, and to my unashamed joy is punishing them appropriately. As I watched Will Hill streak down the sidelines to finish writing chapter eight-billion-and-four of the seemingly endless novel “Inhuman Torture On The Lakefront,” some mystical part of me immediately believed this was the final death rattle of “OIC,” a perfect “handoff” of sorts, from one city to another, one franchise to another. One final time that the rest of the league and the country gets to laugh in our collective faces about rotten luck, because from now on it’s going to be Baltimore’s turn to take the knife to the spine, while I and the rest of the long tortured Cleveland fan base catch some long, long, LONG overdue breaks and dance with the pretty girl.

All Browns fans believe in curses. Maybe the horror of Monday night was the end of ours.

Let’s take a look at what will happen Sunday against the Bengals.

(FYI: Just because the bad luck curse is over, doesn’t mean this season will get any better. They will still lose a lot, it just won’t be because The Football Gods are holding a grudge and scheming against them like an ex-girlfriend. It will be because they stink. There. Isn’t that better?)

-Austin Davis will make some good throws, because the guy knows who to play football. He’ll play just well enough to fuel the “Is Austin Davis our QB of the future” discussions I predicted would begin last week. (FYI – He’s not) I’m guessing he lands somewhere in the neighborhood of 285 yards and a TD, a lot of it in garbage time after the game is way out of hand.

-The rushing game will continue to run like a Swiss watch. A Swiss watch that’s been flushed down the toilet, corroded in salt water, eaten and regurgitated by a creature known as a “Sea Sheen,” that only lives in the ocean off the shores of Switzerland, and then run over by a military Deuce And A Half truck. (For those of you who don’t understand, that’s “not very good.”)(Also, Switzerland has no ocean shores, it’s a landlocked country. Come on, you guys; keep up.) Let’s say the total is less than 50 yards on the ground, altogether. (The total is less than 50 yards on the ground)

-I will not yell at the television, because what’s the point of yelling anymore? I’m starting to get suspicious that the players can’t even hear me when I yell from my couch. (All I want to do is tell them good luck, we’re all counting on them)

-Andy Dalton will make a couple of Andy Dalton-esque throws, but it won’t matter because most of the time, his receivers will be so wide open that I could complete passes to them. At least three times every game this year, Browns fans have watched an opposing WR be completely alone on the television screen and collectively yelled out “IS ANYONE PLANNING TO COVER THAT GUY? HELLO?!?!?” Yes, there have been a lot of injuries, but the defensive scheme has left more than a little to be desired.

-Travis Coons will recover nicely from his first missed field goal, and hit two, including one from beyond 50.

-I will not be inhaling chicken wings at an Olympic rate this week. The Browns have not earned any further chicken wing consumption from me. By the time this game kicks off, I will have already completed my totally unhealthy chicken wing allotment on Saturday, during the college football conference championship games.

-Barnidge will catch another TD pass, virtually guaranteeing he leaves in free agency.

-Benjamin will have another below average game, virtually guaranteeing he stays in free agency.

-There will be a Walking Dead or Ghostbusters or Star Wars or Christmas movie marathon on at the same time as the game, and I’ll flip around the channels during the more scary football parts. You know, like when the Browns have the ball. Or when the Browns don’t have the ball. Or any other random things you don’t want to see.

-Following the lead of that guy in the internet-famous video from Monday night, multiple fans will go full Angry Hulk on their Browns jerseys in the stands. The new scoreboards will look pretty awesome, though.

-The call for Mike Pettine’s head will reach levels of mob mentality usually only seen on the show “Vikings.” I still think he’s safe for next season. I’ve said it all year, and I’m sticking to it. (O’Neill has to go, though. Either that or change the scheme. It’s simply not working.)

-I’ll be rooting extremely hard for the Titans, 49ers, Chargers and Cowboys. Any real Browns fan knows December is officially Draft Season. #ClinchLynch #TakeDecemberOffForGoff

For those asking if I’m serious, I am … and don’t call me Shirley.

Browns lose 41-13.

#GoBrowns

Browns Vs Ravens: End Of My Rope Predictions

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
Browns Fan, Comedian And Older Guy That TwentySomething Girls With Severe Daddy Issues Can’t Resist

It’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to write these preview columns, and not simply because I possess moderate writing skills at best. No, it’s getting harder because the football franchise that resides on the shores of Lake Erie continues to find new levels of “rock bottom” heretofore unknown to modern man.

Being of an age where I came along after the Browns glory days of the ’40-60’s, but long before The Return, I bear more scars and fewer winning memories than most. My Father and his generation share the current pain, but can always look back and remember the 1964 NFL Championship. Millennial fans have all of the same wounds since ’99, but are too young to remember the pain of the Drive/Fumble/Move/etc. I and my Gen X contemporaries, however, have nothing but pain in our Cleveland memory banks. While the music and hairstyles and fashion of the 1980’s will always place our generation a cut above anyone else (Girls with blue eye shadow and huge, ratted up hair, wearing stonewashed jeans and doing The Safety Dance? Come ON, that’s HOT!), when it comes to the Cleveland Browns, we’re right smack dab in the middle of the horror zone. Browns fans have always hung our hats on being the most loyal in the NFL, win or lose, and there are few rational folks who can debate that fact. So when I say “This is a new low, and I’m not sure how much longer I can care,” it means something.

Regular readers know I look for spots each week where the Browns have an advantage, or areas of the team that I believe will improve from the previous games. (I’ve predicted an improvement in the run defense for what seems like 83 consecutive weeks) However, I look at this team and find it difficult, if not borderline impossible, to see anywhere that satisfies either of those two categories. They stop the run like a week 10 SEC cupcake opponent. The running game wobbles between “Nonexistent” and “Icepick to the temple.” The two best offensive weapons are a journeyman tight end, and a rookie running back who apparently has some sort of international legal trouble that prevents him from playing in the second half. There is talent all over the field, but that talent is not translating into wins, or showing any semblance of improvement or cohesion. Where do I look on this team for something positive to predict? Where is the happy place? Most importantly, why did I bring helium instead of air? (A movie reference for my fellow Gen-Xers)

At this point in the column, I’d like it noted that I have written three full paragraphs with no mention of Johnny Manziel and relatively few syntax errors. (I’m terribly proud of both accomplishments) Johnny on-field has made strides this year. Johnny on-field has shown that he could become a functional-to-good starting NFL quarterback one day. Johnny off-field has made it 100% certain that if that happens, it will be somewhere other than Cleveland. Johnny is immature, self-centered, obnoxious, entitled, and has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that at least at this point in this life, he simply doesn’t get it. Johnny is also clearly an addict, which is why I won’t jump on him for his behavior to the same level some others have. It’s getting to the point where he is endangering his life, and that is far more important than any NFL career he may or may not be destroying. I’ve been in Johnny’s corner since before he was drafted, have been calling for him to start since this team dropped to 2-4, and even called for him to be evaluated on field as a rookie, since he (voluntarily) threw away his actual rookie season – and I’m saying it’s time for the Browns to move on, and see what they can get for him in the offseason. It’s too bad, because the kid has a rare athletic gift, something that those of us who’ve been around the block enough times that our knees hurt hate to see wasted.

Being a Browns fan is similar to having that joint in your body that erupts in pain every time it’s going to rain – and it’s going to rain every single day until the end of ever and time. As painful as it is though, I can’t quit. I find myself cursing at this team with incredibly colorful vulgarities, then sitting and looking at the NFL standings, deciding who has to win or lose for the Browns to get the #1 pick in the 2016 Draft. As much as this new round of scars (which are on top of old scars, which are on top of even older scars to the point where the pain gets dulled) carves a new pattern into my heart, I know deep down that no matter what, I’ll always be a Browns fan. If you’re honest with yourselves, you all know it, too. Maybe that’s why this team continually sucks, because ownership knows they don’t have to put out a winning product to rake in profits hand over fist over Dawg paw. Maybe as long as we keep following them as rabidly as we do, nothing will change, because in the end this is a business and the point of a business is to earn a profit. Maybe it’s not the coaches or the owners who are stupid, but us. Maybe we’ll all quit and never watch this team again.

Yeah, right.

What’ll happen Monday night? I dug deep into the Well Of Positivity, and even deeper into the Well Of Scotch, to find these things to look forward to.

-Josh McCown will come back in and play as well as he has all year, winning this game and throwing a huge monkey wrench into the chase for the #1 draft pick. McCown will throw for 300+ yards and 1 TD. Some fans will still hate him. I still won’t understand why. (He’s the best QB we’ve had since The Return, and that’s not hyperbole)

-The running game will continue to be, in a word, “Sh**ty.” Even so, Duke Johnson will score a rushing touchdown in the first half, on a short drive after a Matt Schaub INT deep in his own territory.

-Williams and Desir will both have INT’s.

-I may or may not switch to watching Fargo, right in the middle of the game. It literally pained my fingers to type that. That’s how bad this season has been.

-Xavier Cooper will have a sack.

-Gary Barnidge will catch the TD pass.

-Mike Pettine’s sideline demeanor will continue to embody “The defendant showed no emotion or any reaction whatsoever when the guilty verdict was read.”

-Admit it, ever since I said “The well of Scotch,” you’ve been wondering if that’s really a thing, and if you could talk your wife into putting a Scotch Well instead of a swimming pool into your back yard. (Hey Shark Tank: Call me about “The Well Of Scotch” #BillionDollarIdea)

-I have literally been trying for over an hour to find another on-field prediction that’s positive. I can’t. The previous ones stretched the limits of the imagination.

-At some point, someone will tweet “Could be worse. Our quarterback could be Matt Schaub.” Which will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt just how low the bar has been set in Cleveland.

-Since both of these teams are terrible, a 3rd string, inactive QB will get more airtime than any other player. Sad, sad, sad.

Browns win 23-7. Not because they’re good, but because the Ravens are horrific and injured. Also, this loss will probably put Baltimore in position to draft a Hall Of Fame quarterback one slot ahead of the Browns, who in turn will pick a guy whose career ends because of a disease so rare it was only previously known on Star Trek, like “Space ButtFungus” or something stupid.

#GoBrowns

Browns Vs Steelers: The Past Ain't What It Used To Be Predictions

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
Browns Fan, Comedian And Far Too Sexy For His Socks

It’s Steelers week, which I’m old enough to remember as an actual rivalry. I watched the Browns playoff victory over the Bills from the ’89 playoffs this week on YouTube, and aside from being one of the greatest (and most underrated) playoff games in NFL history, it reminded me of when this franchise was relevant, and when Steelers week meant something special. Seeing the old painted green dirt in the dank cavern that was Cleveland Municipal Stadium, the font on the old scoreboard, and the original Dawg Pound (where I first had my season tickets and spent many a Sunday terrified that the creaky old planks in the bleachers would collapse under the wight of 6,000 drunken maniacs jumping and puking on them) brought back memories so vivid and full, I briefly lost the feeling of eternal doom that hangs over us as fans in 2015. I remembered when teams hated coming to Cleveland, when we had a real home field advantage, and when even the most arrogant Steeler fans were hard-pressed to expect a victory during this week of the season. It brought back what “Steelers Week” really was: A fun-filled, happy week of family bonding over pure, seething hatred of men we’d never met in different colored uniforms. (Misty water color meeeeeeeeemorieeeeeees!)

Now, sadly, it’s a week the folks in Pittspuke barely even register, as they look at it the same way Alabama fans look at a game against Vanderbilt. Since the Browns are roughly 2-486 against the Steelers since The Return, you can’t blame them. (You can compare their IQ to plankton or various tree nuts and insinuate that their sister/cousin constitutes an inordinately large portion of their sex life, but you can’t blame them) Cleveland has turned into the little brother in this game, being held at arms length by a palm on the top of the head while swinging wild punches with arms too short to reach the target. Outside of last year’s 31-10 victory, Steelers week has been a debilitating gut punch, twice a year, every year. Even with Pittspuke (probably) on their backup QB as well their backup RB, I don’t see a reason to hold out much hope for a change in that gutpunching outcome, unless Johnny goes wild in some crazed, modified Run-And-Shoot offense, or Landry Jones channels his inner Bubby Brister, or any one of a myriad of scenarios involving aliens and/or SuperPowers and/or Vegas mobsters fixing the game occurs.

Speaking of Johnny, I stand by my assessment that he needs to play, and for the same reasons I’ve enumerated for a month: Josh McCown is a better QB right now (and maybe always will be), but this season is lost. Putting JFF under center the rest of the year will result in one of two outcomes: Either he’ll “get it” and blossom into what everyone hoped he could be, or he’ll be more awful than expired banana hummus and the Browns will grab the #1 pick in the 2016 Draft. You could say sacrificing the remainder of the season to gauge what they have in JFF is unfair to the other players – and you’d be right – but as anyone over 25 knows, life isn’t fair. These guys signed contracts to play for the Cleveland Browns – come on now, do they really have a right to expect fairness? When you dance with The Devil, eventually he’s going to want to slow dance, hold you close and grope you a little. Just lie back and think of England.

I also stand by my assessment that Mike Pettine is not coaching for his job. Unless Haslam is planning to promote from within, and thereby keep some semblance of continuity, blowing it all up again after only two years won’t help. To slightly alter a recent Berea catchphrase: we’ve seen that movie before, and we know how it ends. I still think that Pett gets another year no matter what happens the next seven games. Well, outside of him showing up naked on the set of SportsCenter with “Hey Jimmy: EAT ME!” painted on his chest in clown blood. (Although if you’re going to get fired, that’s a method even George Costanza would respect)
So while no one is particularly excited about this upcoming game, let’s take as honest of a look as possible, and see what will unfold Sunday.
-The run defense will continue to be hopeless. DeAngelo Williams will run so far, and for so much yardage, the fans may have to hold up signs telling him to stop, like in Forrest Gump. I say he goes over 150 yards.

-Duke Johnson will get more touches in the first half than he has in the last few games combined. He won’t reach the end zone. That being said, I’m now ready to admit I was wrong about disliking drafting him. Dude can play.

-I will be in Cape Canaveral, Florida on Sunday, watching the game from a sports bar right next to the world famous Ron Jon Surf Shop. I will give you 182-1 odds that I am the only one there watching the Browns game, decked out in Browns gear, and making barking noises that frighten small, nearby children. (If you live nearby, maybe have some bail money ready. Just in case)

-Dwayne Bowe will continue to look like one of the guys the Eagles cut when they held the open tryout and signed Vince Papale in 1976. If I wanted to watch a chunky middle aged guy run half-assed routes, I’d set up a mirror and run some myself. (Totally kidding. Running? Me? HaHa! “Run? For fun? What kind of stupid fun is that?” — Back To The Future III)

-Johnny will get the start. If McCown starts, as beat up as he already is, he might be dead by halftime.

-Travis Coons will have another good day, with three Field Goals. How many years can our kicker be our best offensive weapon?

-I will shout something horrible and offensive and borderline criminal at a Steelers player, as I was taught to do from a very young age. It’s only polite. (Seriously. Bail money. Just in case)

-Pierre Desir will have an INT.

-Xavier Cooper, Dany Shelton and Paul Kruger will all have sacks. Hey, it has to happen at some point, right? (BTW, “It has to happen at some point, right?” is the same logic used by myself and many other Browns season ticket holders as to why we keep buying the things, year after miserable decade. The year I give them up will be the year they make a Super Bowl run, and then I’ll have no choice but to commit several murders and eat a lot of Cocoa Puffs)

-The Austin Davis tweets will start, as well as innumerable tweets in BrownsTwitter that include the phrase “Landry F%&king Jones?!?!?”

-Many other members of the Browns Backers will start to look at who we want to win/lose every week in order to improve the Browns draft position. I say, welcome aboard, some of us have been here for awhile now.

Browns lose 31-9.

#GoBrowns

Browns Vs Bengals: Weary Predictions

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
Browns Fan, Comedian And NorthShore Masochist

 
Are there words left, fellow Browns fans? After the game against Arizona added yet another addition to the pile of bile built up over the past 16 years (and the previous 35), is there any prose remaining that we haven’t said or heard a thousand times? Weary. That’s the only word I can muster that comes close to capturing my feelings when it comes to the Cleveland Browns at this particular moment in time. I’m weary of the spurts of good football that ultimately get lost among the massive mistakes and mental breakdowns at critical times. I’m weary of a defense that can’t stop the run, misses far too many tackles and has been the worst 3rd-and-long defense on the planet for as far back as I can remember. I’m weary of trying to talk myself into believing that a team without a championship level quarterback has a chance in this league. I’m weary of a coaching staff that continually puts the same guys out there, watches them make the same mistakes, and offers the same excuses. Most of all, like each and every one of you I’m sure, I’m weary of the losing.

 

 

I know this hasn’t been particularly funny thus far. Usually I have a few more days after a loss to *salve my wounds and mentally reflect on the game (*drink copious amounts of booze and run naked through a Ruby Tuesdays) before I pen my next predictions column and work in Charlie Sheen references and booger jokes. The Thursday Night Football appearance this week has thrown off my entire schedule, and along with a early deadline from my editor, I’ve been forced to really ramp up my bacon intake to get a week’s worth in before game time. (I make so many sacrifices) As weary as I am after the debacle against the Cardinals last Sunday, I seriously considered bagging it this week. Then I remembered that there are nearly a dozen loyal readers out there … OK, two (not including my Mom) who depend on me and anxiously await this column every week, so I sacked up, got my butt off the couch, and wrote. (Truth be told, I crammed by butt ON the couch. That’s where I write. There’s a pretty cool butt-groove in the thing. Let me know if you want to see it. I’ll post pics.)

Both of my regular readers know that I’m finally getting my wish to see Johnny play. If you’re new around here, it’s not because I think McCown has done anything wrong. On the contrary, Josh McCown the Browns MVP to this point in the season (I’ll take “Sentences no one on Earth ever thought they would say and mean it” for 2,000, Alex). It’s just that this season has been essentially over for several weeks, so I think it’s time to get the kids on the field and see who steps up. That being said, I think this could very well be the low point of the season. It could get uglier than a nudist colony WalMart.

Also, despite what’s been swirling around Twitter the past week, I don’t think Mike Pettine is in danger of losing his job this week, during the bye week, or even at the end of the year. I think there’s a plan in place in Haslam’s mind, and barring several games looking like a Baylor opponent or Pettine going “Full Sheen” at a press conference, that plan stays in place at least one more year.

Of course, I’ve been wrong before. As both of my regular readers know.

So let’s take a look at what will happen Thursday night. (I warn you, I tried but could not find the usual positive nuggets I look for each week)
-The secondary will get absolutely eaten alive. Desir and Campbell will make several good plays, but overall the Bengals simply have too many weapons, and are firing on too many cylinders right now. To realistically expect this group to stop Dalton and the gang is insanity.

-Part of the reason the secondary will have such a tough night is that the pass rush will continue to be non-existent. I wish I could sit here and predict a sack from one of the Browns DE’s or LB’s like I normally do, but outside of possibly Armonty Bryant on a broken play, where is it going to come from? (Bryant does continue to impress me. Really looking forward to his 2016.)

-The NFL Network folks will remind us of the game at Cincinnati last year, and that Brian Hoyer is now in Houston, as if we’re supposed to be pining away, wistful for his return. This will cause me to use every ounce of will power I have not to hurl an ash tray through the TV screen, and I don’t even smoke.

-In an overcompensating effort from the coaching staff to prove they’re not tone-deaf, Duke Johnson will get the ball a lot in the first half. Probably so much that he gets hurt. How Cleveland would that be?

-Other than Duke, we’ll see the same people on the field, making the same mistakes – again. I understand that a coaching staff has to evaluate players based on practice, and that apparently each week in practice these guys “give us the best chance to win,” but after awhile you HAVE to try something different. Any sane person looks at the results of their endeavors and says “Well, I know what I think I should do, but doing that has failed about 480 millionbillionskillion times in a row, so I guess I have to try this other thing and see what happens.” Don’t they? DON’T THEY? Again, I do NOT advocate a coaching change, but it’s quite frustrating on an intellectual level.

-Andy Lee will continue to be the best offseason acquisition this team made. That’s sad. Like, abandoned baby bird with a broken leg near a busy highway sad.

-OK, let’s talk Johnny. I think he’ll play better than some folks are expecting, but not great. Anyone expecting an NFL version of his A&M Highlight reel will be more disappointed than many of my dates in the 80’s. I’m thinking Johnny finishes somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-38, 225, 1TD 2INT, with a chunk of that yardage coming in garbage time. No matter what though, anything short of a 35-42, 457, 4TD victory and he’s going to be heaped with ridicule. Must say, he brought it all on himself, 100%.

-At some point while I am throwing anger tantrum #8, my daughter will walk in and ask why I root for the Browns. I will send her to her room, because I am still the Daddy, damn it.

-Dansby will have double digit tackles.

-Barnidge will not catch a touchdown pass.

-Dwayne Bowe will be thankful that Johnny is in the game, because it will make him less of a target for BrownsTwitter. (He’d probably drop that target, anyway. HEYOOOOOOOOO!)

-BrownsTwitter will debate whether or not Austin Davis could lead an NFL team to the playoffs. No one involved will be kidding. (No, seriously)

-Browns lose 38-13.

The weariness will continue.

#GoBrowns

Handy-Dandy Schedule Guide For Browns Twitter

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)

Browns Fan, Comedian And Super Organized Studmuffin

 

Just so we’re all on the same page, I thought I’d publish this handy schedule guide for the members of BrownsTwitter.

 

BrownsTwitter New Schedule:

Today – March 15: Talking tough about how drafting a QB is the #1 priority, how until they find a franchise QB, nothing will change, and how if they don’t draft a QB we’re all done with this franchise and will never watch another game.

March 16 – NFL Draft Day 1: Reading Mock Drafts, arguing with each other about Mock Drafts, calling each other names about Mock Drafts. Also, getting wishy-washy about the QB class, and talking ourselves into believing that drafting a defensive lineman or wide receiver could work, too.

NFL Draft Day 2 – 2016 Training Camp Day 1: Bitterly complaining about not drafting a QB, and saying how since they didn’t, we’re done with this franchise and will never watch another game.

2016 Training Camp Day 2 – 2016 Season Week 5: Reading about the current roster, arguing with each other about the current roster, calling each other names about the current roster. Also, getting wishy-washy about how the current QB could be OK, how “strong” the team got in other areas during the offseason, and figuring out playoff scenarios.

2016 Season Week 6: Return to Step 1.

Got it? Hooray!

#GoBrowns

Browns Vs Cardinals: Wilford Brimley Predictions

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
Comedian, Browns Fan And Halloween Hottie

 
As far as I know, there is no known cure for Browns-idas. It’s a sad affliction, one which is passed down from generation to generation, not by DNA but by Fathers uttering those horrifically cruel and borderline abusive words: “Son, we’re Browns fans.” After becoming an adult … well … after getting older, I find myself often wishing my Dad had simply been an alcoholic and passed those traits on to my brother and I. After all, there’s therapy and counseling and other ways to recover from that. Being a Browns fan, on the other hand, has never even received any Government funding to do a study, research a cure, or even buy the next round. (Thanks, Obamacare!) There are some that say a Super Bowl victory would cure this malady, but this is strictly theoretical and many in the mainstream medical field laugh at it and poo-poo it, and then laugh again because they’re big important doctors who just used the phrase “poo-poo.” (By the way, we’re currently filming a commercial seeking donations to start a research team. I hired Wilford Brimley as the spokesman, simply because I wanted to hear him pronounce it “Browns-eetus.”)

Why am I writing all of this instead of going over the Rams game from last week? Well, let me answer that question with another one: what is there to say about the Rams game that we haven’t already all said a hundred times this season? The defense looked good for long stretches, then broke down and gave up critical plays at critical times. The offense moved the ball reasonably well, but broke down and made critical mistakes at critical times. (With the exception of the horrendous holding call on Joe Thomas that wiped out a 38 yard catch by Rabbit, there was no arguing any of them, either.) It’s the same team, with the same problems we’ve known about since training camp. Remove the turnovers and big plays from the equation, and it’s a lot closer game that they might have won. Oh, and remove talent and dedication from the equation, I’m a lot better golfer who might be on the PGA Tour being stalked by sexy young groupies.

There were a few positives that came back to Cleveland from the Soon To Be Uninhabited By An NFL Team Dome last week. Robert Turbin looks like he could be a solid addition to the backfield. Armonty Bryant continues to improve his play, and could be exciting next season once he’s a full year removed from his knee injury and rehab. As far as we know, neither Johnny Manziel or Josh Gordon were arrested during the game. See? Some positives! Outside of those items though, there’s really not a lot we need to discuss, unless you guys have a home remedy for Browns-idas that involves bacon,  distilled cough syrup and medicine men with bones in their nose dancing around a raging fire. (If you do, send it. That sounds cool.)

So let’s look ahead to Sunday against Arizona.

-Robert Turbin will break two runs of over 15 yards, on his way to a day of roughly 75 yards on the ground and one touchdown. I say this partly because I believe it, and party because Turbin has biceps so large he could probably reach through the internet and dislocate my shoulder if I said anything bad about him. I’m terrible frightened of his biceps. I’m not even a little bit kidding.

-Travis Benjamin will have a touchdown catch of over 60 yards against Honey Badger. Not because Badger is bad, but because he’s so aggressive that if he overplays by one step, Rabbit will be gone.

-I will be in Galveston, Texas on Sunday for the game. The last time I was there on a Browns game day, I bought a box of Frankenberry cereal on a whim, and Colt McCoy led the Browns to a 34-14 domination of the Patriots. Therefore, even though I can no longer eat Frankeberry due to a food allergy, I will be searching for a box to purchase all morning. (Hey, if the World Series can use the crazy 1986 Mets “won/lost by this many runs in each game” analogy, I can use my freaking Frankenberry analogy. Shut up.)

-Armonty Bryant will have a sack and cause a fumble. Carson Palmer is an absolute statue in the pocket, which will allow the Browns to actually grab a couple of sacks.

-Watching the run defense will continue to be more frustrating than being behind an old guy at a buffet line. (Dude, what the HELL are you staring at? It’s CHICKEN! Get some or don’t! If you get some and don’t like it, don’t eat it! Just GRAB AND MOVE, GRAB AND MOVE, GRAB AND MOVE!!!!) Sorry … OK, I’m back now. I was a little off kilter emotionally there, but you get my point – watching the run defense makes you just as irritable, doesn’t it?

-There will be a rumor about an impending trade involving a high profile Browns player. By halftime, BrownsTwitter will be feasting on itself with insanity utensils, debating the prospect of how many #1 picks the team is going to receive versus how stupid anyone who disagrees with their opinion is and whether or not they should burn that person at the stake. As Nutty Nutty Bang Bang as this rumor will be, it won’t approach the insanity I read on ESPN.com last week about the Browns trading Joe Thomas for Jason Pierre Paul and a 5th round pick. Even the worst Twitter caricature of Ray Farmer isn’t that stupid. I hope.

-Diabeetus. You’ve been saying it the entire time you’ve been reading this column, haven’t you? It’s been stuck in your head ever since I said it, hasn’t it? It’ll be stuck in there the rest of the day, won’t it? Ha ha on you. (Diabeetus)

-Gipson will have an INT in his return. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Gip is the one – ONE – impact playmaker they have on their team, a guy who consistently flips the field, and if they continue to screw around with his contract, I’ll … I’ll … well, I’ll probably rant pointlessly about it on Twitter and then continue to watch the games, hold season tickets and buy merchandise anyway, but I WON’T LIKE IT! NO SIR, I WON’T LIKE IT ONE BIT! (That’ll teach ‘em in Berea, won’t it? I WIN! I WIN!)

-Barkevious Mingo will make a huge play at some point in the Red Zone. I was ready to write this guy off earlier in the year, but he’s starting to make just enough plays that I’m hedging a bit. I’m not saying he was worth the #6 pick, I’m simply saying maybe the light is starting to go on for the guy.

-I completely understand why Josh McCown continues to start, he’s the glue holding this team together thus far. That being said, I stand by my opinion of the past few weeks: it’s time for Johnny to hit the field. This season is over, folks. If JFF gets no significant playing time this season, the offseason will be 100% spent amidst the raging debate of whether the Browns should draft another QB or spend another year seeing what Johnny is. (Personally, I think they’re taking another QB regardless, and I’m still a Goff man.) If they lose this week and fall to 2-6, the chorus of folks agreeing with me will grow.

-Someone will write a comment or send me an email or tweet @ me about the Johnny prediction I just made. That message will include more seething hatred, misspelled ethnic slurs and references to having sexual relations with my mother than you’d think could be crammed into 140 characters. I’m not sure with which part they’ll disagree, and it doesn’t matter. Simple rule: Make a statement about Manziel – ANY statement – and someone will threaten your life.

-The Cardinals will have 34 rushes for 58 yards. They will then have another 6 rushes for 137 yards. Lesson: Stopping 8 out of 10 running plays isn’t good enough in the NFL. Have to bring it on every down, every game. If you don’t, the other guy will. 8 out of 10 plays equals “competing.” 10 out of 10 plays equals “winning.” Which do you want?

-Josh McCown will throw three INT’s. Only one will be his fault.

-Travis Coons will hit four FG’s.

-If anyone offers me food in the style of “Tex-Mex,” I will stab them in the throat and shoot them fifteen times. Fusion food makes me irrationally angry. (Also it’s Texas, so the shooting part is totally legal)

-As is their custom, the Browns will keep this excruciatingly close until the late stages, not allowing any fans to leave our TV’s until the bitter, debilitating and completely predictable end.

Browns lose 27-26.

Diabeetus.

#GoBrowns