Fan View: First Half Thoughts

Jeff Biletnikoff looks into his crystal ball and sees.... playoffs?... for the hometown team.

We're "halfway" through the season. It's not really "halfway" because the bye week came when there were still 10 games left on the schedule but you get the idea.

FIRST HALF THOUGHTS

Offense has been way better than we thought. Defense has been way worse. 3-3 is a record we all would have taken if offered to us in preseason. 3-3 is a record we would have sold valuables on eBay after game 1 when they got waxed by Pittspuke.

Why does 3-3 give me a pang of regret then?

The blocked FG in Oakland. Tell me that's not running through your head right now. Yes, yes, I know 3-3 is something that I never expected and am thankful for at this point of the season.

But 4-2 was possible. It was probable. Maybe I'm being greedy but heading into the 2nd half of the season, the Browns are on the road more than they're home and since we are talking possible playoff scenarios (can you believe it) having another win against an AFC opponent could help in crunch time.

Can't complain too much. We have an actual QB, WR's, a TE, and an honest-to-goodness NFL caliber offensive line.

I haven't had this much fun watching the Browns on O. since #19 (Kosar for the younger readers) was marching Cleveland up and down the field in the 80's.

The defense. Let's just say, that's not so much fun to watch at the moment.

SECOND HALF PREDICTIONS

If the Browns have any kind of chance to put themselves in the playoff picture they have to win the winnable games and steal a few that they're not supposed to have a chance in.

@St. Louis.
St. Louis stinks. They're 0-7 and reeling. The Browns have to win this and go to 4-3. End of discussion.

vs. Seattle
Tougher match up at home but winnable. This is not your father's NFC Champion. The Browns have been tough at home and Shaun Alexander has lost something making Seattle virtually one dimensional. Cleveland should be 5-3 after this.

@Pittsburgh
My heart says 6-3 but my brain says 5-4. The Steelers are one of the top teams in the AFC and will be too much for the Browns at Heinz Field.

@Baltimore
This is one of those "steal" games. Baltimore is tough at home and still angry over getting waxed in week 3 by the Browns. Set up perfectly for Cleveland to lose, right? I think not. The Ravens have no QB. McNair is too old and Boller is just Boller. This is not the 2000 Ravens D and the Browns will sweep the season series. 6-4.

vs. Houston
The Texans are capable of coming in and stealing one from Cleveland, especially after the emotional win the Browns will get in Baltimore the week before. However, even though they'll probably have WR Andre Johnson back by then, I see the Browns still having too much for Houston. 7-4.

@Arizona
You'd think the Browns will go out to the desert and win but this Cardinals squad is built tough thanks to Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm. I have a feeling it will be a let down game for the Browns. 7-5.

@New York (Jets)
The Browns bounce back on the road agains the JETS-JETS-JETS. I'm sorry, Mangini isn't a genius and Pennington has a noodle arm. The Browns will get the W in the Big Apple. 8-5.

vs. Buffalo
The Bills have looked feisty in taking down the Ravens and nearly beating the Cowboys. QB Trent Edwards looks like the real deal and they've got their running game humming along. The Bills don't have the best D out there but neither do the Browns. It's going to be a tough fight but I see Cleveland having just enough D and too much O for the Bills. 9-5.

@Cincinnati
Payback time for the Browns? I think not. They've, believe it or not, got a better overall team than the Bengals do this year. They take care of business on the road and run their mark to 10-5, which should be good enough for a playoff berth.

@San Francisco
Letdown time. Another fruitless trip out west as Cleveland loses a game they should win. But it doesn't matter because they're in the playoffs for the first time since 2002 with a record of 10-6.

Yes, I do see the playoffs for this team. They've won games in the brutal part of their schedule that's put them in position to make a run in the easier part. I don't see them going very far in the postseason but just getting there is a helluva turnaround.

And about time.


The OBR Top Stories