NFL  > Cleveland Browns  > Browns 09 Schedule Fourth Quarter
May 22, 2009, 10:08 PM
So here we are in the home stretch with the Browns at a surprising 7-5 and ready for an even more surprising finish. I really couldn't believe it myself when I looked at the schedule but here's what I came with

PITTSBURGH: One of the toughest games of the year but still winnable. As stated earlier I was shocked at the Steelers' inability to dominate the Arizona front seven. Their O-Line looked worse in a victory than Philadelphia and Carolina's ha dlooked in defeat. I think they miss Russ Grimm more than they're letting on. I still expect the Steelers to finish at 12 and 4 but it'll be a tough year fro Big Ben. Mangini will exploit those weaknesses. This is one of the key prizes for the Cleveland this season, split the series with the Ravens and the Steelers. The phrase "change the culture" gets thrown around in sports all the time but few coaches really understand what that means. Mangini proved that he understands this by giving the Jets three consecutive winning seasons. He knows you don't wait to change, do it now, do it fast (WIN)

AT KANSAS CITY: I like what they're doing in KC. I believe Cassell is the real deal and not a one season wonder. That said I think the KC front office didn't do such a hot job by him during the off season and the draft. They sent Tony Gonzales to Atlanta which was good news for Matt Ryan, not so much for Matt Cassell. The Chiefs are now down to Dwayne Bowe as a receiving threat. It's going to be a real shock for a guy used to throwing to Wes Welker and Randy Moss. Even more disturbing the Chiefs made no move to shore up their O Line. Last year Tyler Thigpen spent a lot of time running for his life. The jury is still out on last year's first rounder Branden Albert which is a red flag. When it comes to LT's you usually know right away if they guy can play the position (See Joe Thomas, Orlando Pace, Jonathan Ogden, Tony Ugoh, Ryan Clady) or not (Robert Gallery, Winston Justice). The defense looks to be much improved but I doubt the offense even with Cassell will be able to match it. (WIN)

OAKLAND: You know I really thought the Raiders had learned their lesson. They ended last season on a high note, Russell was playing like a real QB. Then Russell shows up at 280 lbs, and Tom Cable questioned if he had the commitment to be a leader and Al Davis spends the number 7 pick on a guy who got an honorable mention in the ACC (Let me just say I love the Browns' draft this year. They turned the No. 5 pick into 7 players, 3 or 4 of which will start that rest performing as back ups. Compare that to what the Raiders got picking just two spots down!) And here we go again on the Al Davis rollercoaster, although on this ride the highs aren't that high and dips are really low. (WIN)

JACKSONVILLE: This has the look of a team on a downward trajectory. The once unbeatable DT tag team of Marcus Stroud and John Henderson was broken up last year. The Jags D went from unholy to just mildly offensive. Injuries on the O Line stopped the running game dead. David Garrad was supposed to shake up the passing game, they should have tried getting some real receivers. The running game should be back, provided Jones-Drew can carry the load on his lonesome but their air attack is grounded. By this time they'll be out of the AFC South race and the playoff hunt. They'll be playing in cold weather, though that doesn't usually bother them. This is a game that Crennel might have let slip but there's a new sheriff in town. Mangini will close the deal (WIN)

A clean sweep of the final four games. I could barely believe it myself as I was writing it. I don't think I'm crazy. Crazy is doing the same thing and expecting different results (see Raiders and Bengals) Cleveland has made a change. We'll just see if it is for the better.


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