For arguably the first time since Week 1, the Cleveland Browns (0-9) showed up ready to play in Detroit. At one point they even led by ten points. No fooling! Nevertheless, as inevitable as gravity’s pull, the Browns squandered that lead and left the Motor City with their ninth loss of the season. They return home to lick their wounds as another team named after ferocious felines shows up on a mission. With the resurgent Jacksonville Jaguars (6-3) rolling in, let’s see what to expect on Sunday.
Are the Browns Favored?
Negative. Jacksonville enters as a 7.5-point favorite. The smart folks in Vegas seem to pay little heed to whether or not the Browns are home when setting the line. The Browns are 3-17 in their last twenty true home games so it’s hard to blame them.
The Jaguars lead the all-time series 11-5. Despite playing in the same division for four seasons the Browns and Jags have not played a ton of games against each other. Jacksonville has won two straight; Cleveland hasn’t won in the series since Week 11, 2011. Colt McCoy threw a touchdown pass that day if you’re looking for some sad perspective.
These aren’t your big brother’s Jaguars. In a first-place tie with the Titans heading into Tennessee’s Thursday night loss to Pittsburgh, the jungle cats are looking for their first winning season and playoff appearance since 2007. The club has lost to the Titans, Jets, and Rams while defeating the Texans, Ravens, Steelers, Colts, Bengals, and Chargers. The River City Kitties have a chance to secure an AFC North sweep with a win in Cleveland on Sunday.
The immortal Blake Bortles is still standing under center for the Jags. The former UCF Knight has thrown 167-of-285 passing for 1,930 yards, eleven touchdowns, and seven interceptions. Running back Leonard Fournette has taken 147 carries for 629 yards and six touchdowns. The leading receivers are Marqise Lee (38 catches, 493 yards, two scores) and Allen Hurns (36 catches, 446 yards, two scores). The Jags’ claim to fame in 2017 is their defense. The team ranks first in points allowed (14.9 ppg) and third in yards allowed (285.8 ypg). Defensive end Calais Campbell has recorded an eye-popping eleven sacks and 24 tackles plus two forced fumbles in only nine games. Expect to see him near DeShone Kizer all afternoon.
The Browns’ Stats
Let’s talk numbers real quick. Surely by now you’ve determined that the Browns are not very good at football. The question then becomes, how bad are they? Where do they rank among their professional football peers? You’re not going to like it.
Needless to say there’s room for improvement.
Normally a game against Jacksonville would be a welcome break and a prime opportunity for a win. While that may not be as true in 2017, the Jags are dysfunctional enough to offer a chance for the Browns’ first win. There’s no guarantees of course, but maybe the Browns’ first home game in a month will light a fire under them.