I think the Browns playoff hopes ended when we couldn't beat the ridiculous Panthers at home, but for the sake of amusement, we'll assume that we're still alive. That means we have to win out, most likely, to have a shot at the brass ring. That makes this a critical game. (Insert cliche here).
Overriding the importance of the Browns need to win out is the need to "wierd out", since it's critical that the Browns-Jaguars history of bizarre occurances continue in 2002.
Let's track the legacy of weirdness, shall we? Here's a year-by-year tracking of the odd happenings when the Browns and Jaguars played each other.
- 1999: Orlando "Zeus" Brown, an offensive tackle the Browns felt would hold down the end of their line for years to come, is knocked out for the game, season, and career as Jeff "Look at me! I'm Sandy Koufax!" Triplette hurls a beanbag into Brown's eye. Brown pushes Triplette for the assault, and is booed as he leaves the field for the very last time.
- 2000: The Cleveland Browns featured a quarterback apparently named after a misspelled fish, an offensive coordinator for a head coach, and a neophyte TV announcer named "Dwight" as their GM. I think there was a big hurricane that almost delayed the game down in Jacksonville that year. Weird!
- 2001: Tom Coughlin opens his pie-hole and declares that the Jaguars were 3-0. Problem is that they were only 2-0 at the time, and he was assuming a win over the Browns. One stomped-on field logo later, the Browns had clobbered the Jags and knocked Mark Brunell out for the season. As an aside, Gerard Warren was the individual who removed Brunell's head after an interception. Since Brunell is a star quarterback and not, say, a Packers offensive lineman, Warren was fined silly.
- 2002 (January): After watching the Browns drive downfield for a potentially game-winning score, a stunned Cleveland Browns crowd sees the officials ask for a replay from two plays before. The crowd, noting that the low pay of NFL officials may have made them susceptible to graft, helpfully tosses various bottles onto the field so that the officials can try to return them for deposit in their home states. Tragically, the NFL, officials, and Cleveland Browns front office types miss the charitable thrust of the action entirely and Browns fans are scolded interminably on ESPN.
Given all this oddness, we should expect the unexpected against the Jaguars today. Since the unexpected would be no odd occurances, we should expect a normal game, since that would be the most unexpected.
Nah, me either.
Anyhow, here's some random thoughts from my over-caffeinated point of view this morning. I pegged it last week with Peppers leading to pressure leading to turnovers leading to a possible upset, so I'm feeling less stupid than usual. As a result, you have to put up with the following bullet points:
- The Jags are pretty easy to run against, since they give up 120+ yards on the ground per game. While normally this would lead me to feel good about the Browns chances, since we have the opportunity to control the clock, I think we're in trouble. OF course, I have this feeling because I finally relented and put William Green in as the starter on my fantasy team, which means he'll get thirty yards today. Blech. If I was a real analyst, like the ones who get paid, I'd say that Green's emergence and the Jags defense set the Browns up well to control the clock if they can take a lead into the second half. I'd say something like "Look for William Green to get over 100 yards today". But I'm just a webmaster, so I think we're in trouble.
- Jimmy Smith has had a great career. Jimmy Smith frightens everyone who plays him. Jimmy Smith has created problems for the Browns in the past. Jimmy Smith just signed a, um, really big contract and is having a crappy year. I'd rather have the Browns recievers.
- Mark Brunell is a QB who will run around outside of the pocket. I'd feel a lot better if Jamir Miller were playing. The way it is, I suspect that his ability to freeze our secondary and confuse our linebackers will lead to even greater opportunities for Fred Taylor.
- Mark Word is playing. Courtney Brown is better... sorry Word pimps. The Browns have the best red-zone defensive stats in the league in large part because of Brown even though Word has gotten to the QB more often. He may... may.. get a sack today but the Browns line won't be as good without Courtney.
- Watch for a guy named Marcus Stroud. He's no Julius Peppers, but he could get to Couch a couple of times.
- Our kicker is better than their kicker. Lots better. It won't matter, since I think we're going to have 30+ from the winner, which will mean that it won't be a defensive tussle decided by a field goal. When I'm wrong, you can laugh at me. It's fun!
Anyhow, the Amazing Bietz predicts the final score today will be Browns 31, Jacksonville 23. I also predict that there will be a photo gallery after the game and that people who know what they're talking about will have articles on the site by midnight.
See you in the chat room!