Now that the San Francisco 49ers have broken their win-column goose-egg with a resounding victory over the one-win New York Giants, the lowly Cleveland Browns are the NFL’s last winless team.
Not only has Hue Jackson’s squad lost all nine of the games they’ve played this season, but they’ve now lost 24 of 25 games since Jackson took over as head coach.
What’s more, they’ve now lost 17 consecutive road games dating back to 2015, and they haven’t won in regulation in their last 24 road contests dating back nearly three years.
But the Browns might be getting close. They showed signs of life on defense in three-point home losses to the New York Jets and Tennessee Titans in October, surrendering just two touchdowns in as many games. And the offense had its best game of the season in a 38-24 loss in Detroit last week. The Browns actually led that game 10-0 and 24-17 before the Lions finished with 21 unanswered points, but it was still a surprisingly strong effort on the road, and it was more competitive than the final score would appear to indicate.
Now that rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer has shown signs of improvement, running backs Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson have begun to find grooves and Myles Garrett is becoming healthier and more comfortable, it’s fair to figure the Browns are on the cusp.
The schedule could permit it. They’re about to host a talented but young, inexperienced and undisciplined Jacksonville Jaguars team that could be due for a letdown performance after barely surviving against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 10. Then they’ve got a Cincinnati Bengals team that is pretty much toast, followed by the beatable Chargers, the Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay Packers at home, the beatable Baltimore Ravens at home and a toss-up Week 16 matchup with the Chicago Bears.
Don’t be surprised if the Browns win two or three of those six games, which may or may not save Jackson’s job but could cost them the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
Which leads to the question: Do the Browns actually want to win for just the second time in two years?