Game: Indianapolis Colts (8-5) @ Cleveland Browns (7-6)
Time: Sunday, Dec. 15, 1:00 p.m. (EDT)
Television: CBS-TV (Gus Johnson, Brent Jones, Marcus Allen)
Radio: WMMS-100.7 FM Flagship Station (Jim Donovan, Doug Dieken, Casey Coleman)
Series Record: Cleveland leads, 14-8
Last Meeting: Indianapolis 29, at Browns 28 (12/26/99)
Browns Fans Cheering and Pounding Beers: Click here
Your Daily Newswire
The "bigness" of today's match-up hasn't been lost on the Browns beat writers, who focus on today's matchup as being a key test for the Browns and for Tim Couch in particular. The team is clearly nosing in on the central stage of the NFL.
The problem, of course, is that every time that the Browns start to get the attention of the national media mob, they subsequently lay an egg of a size and width that would embarrass deformed chicken Baby Huey or, at least, a large ostrich.
Here's what's obvious: whichever team loses today is really in trouble with regards to reaching the playoffs. If the Browns lose, they still have an outside chance to back in to the playoffs if the Steelers collapse. The Colts are probably dead if they lose, but could still win the last two games and sneak in with a wild card. So, while pundits call today's game a "do-or-die" situation, it probably isn't. But whatever team loses will have a will hard road ahead.
Tim Couch and Peyton Manning both have monkeys clinging to their backs. Couch's is a huge one right now... a real two thousand pound sits-wherever-the-heck-he-wants gorilla.... with the quarterback being hounded by home problems and a sense that he hasn't lived up to his draft position. Manning, in the meantime, is a quarterback with glittering stats who hasn't done much in the playoffs. The two old friends are both looking for chances to redeem themselves.
The stage is set. The fans are lit. Or at least some of us will be. Let's rock.
We, uh, what?
Steve Doerschuck is the hardest working beat reporter in Browns business. He's out there regularly pounding out stories in the Canton Repository, and one of our few lights in the darkness of off-season. I've always pimped the Canton Rep, which I think is an under-appreciated source of Browns news and often focuses on stories that spice up daily reading for Browns fans.
I'm surprised at the shot he took at Bernie's Insiders in his column today, though. Steve infers that we're bashing Couch because Kosar hasn't been brought into the team's organization. There's simply no relationship. Bernie doesn't tell our writers what to write, and his concern over Tim's comments in justified, since they didn't make sense.
Furthermore, I will publicly now declare that there is no relationship between Bernies Insiders and Jimmy Johnsons comments or hair. I refuse to believe that we somehow have culpability in either. For example, my own fine head of hair is completely free of all artificial chemicals or preservatives. Perhaps Johnson simply watched the game, or wanted something controversial to say. I don't see a relationship... the ex-Cowboys coach has plenty of sources to turn to if he wants to find people criticizing Couch.
Harrumph, I say, harrumph.
There, Steve, you've been harrumphed at.
Art's Pointless Preview
Here's where I pretend to know what I'm talking about. But I've only got forty minutes before I'm supposed to meet a friend and begin the tailgating process, so I'll keep this short and sweet.
- Harrison will do less than he usually does because Fuller will match up with him and keep him more-or-less under control. With the Colts deep recieving corps, look for Manning to spread the ball around.
- William Green continues to run well, but doesn't provide the cold weather / natural turf advantage that the Colts fans are worried about in their forum. There's no reason to think that Green won't go over 100 again today. James is struggling this year, but he'll have a decent game against the Browns suspect run defense.
- I'll be watching the Dwight Feeney - Ross Verba match-up closely. Verba has lost ten pounds due to the flu and Feeney is an emerging star. If pressure can come from Verba's side, I suspect we'll see mistakes from Couch and the game could downward spiral fast. This is one of today's keys, in my opinion.
- Neither team has been playing well on special teams, and I suspect we'll see a special teams score today.
I've been saying it all week, so I'll say it now.
Browns 34, Colts 28.
Now you know what won't happen. Be loud. See you there.