Tag Archives: Cleveland Browns

Red’s 2018 NFL Predictions – AFC North

The division of “so what.”  Red still has to pick ’em.

Pittsburgh Stealers – Ben “Big Ben” Rothlessburger may be tired but he isn’t old just yet.  This season may change that assessment and if so, the Stealers are in for a cold December – well make that a colder December.  BB should be helped by the presence of Antone “Big Time” Brown and the debut of the JuJu “No Need for a Nick Name” Smith-Schuster. The big ? – is Le’Veon “Will he Answer the” Bell.  If  not, then maybe James “Hey I Don’t Suck” Conner is the answer – or maybe not.  The Stealers defense is always there  and probably improves with the emergence of T.J. “Yeah He’s my Big Brother” Watt.  It all rests in the reasonably capable hands of Mike “Can You Believe I’m Still Here” Tomlin.  Red likes Mike and Pittsburgh does more than enough to win this division at 12-4.

Cleveland Browns – You read it here first, the Browns are going to the playoffs.  Red just had to choke back a spoonful of delicious Grazier’s whole milk, grass-fed yogurt when he wrote that and is now seriously contemplating the function of the back key – but the moving hand writes and when it is written moves on.  Sort of like Red’s bowels.  This could be the greatest prediction  of Red’s life or  . . .   Happy times in Cleveland at 10-6.

Cincinnati Bengals – Red really likes the Bengals.  He also likes Neapolitan ice cream even though he knows it’s just vanilla, chocolate and strawberry and the vanilla is always left at the end.  Sort of like the end of your typical Bengals season where there either challenge for a playoff spot or make the playoffs and lose to the Texans – an even worse fate.  This has to be the year for Marvin “Can You Believe I’m Still Here When I’m not Half as Good as Mike Tomlin” Lewis.  He cannot hang on any longer without at least one playoff win.  Marvin lets go of the rope.  Cincinnati comes close but not close enough 9-7.

Baltimore Ravens – Flacco Joe, Flaco Joe,  Flaco Joe.  Can Red just say no?  Okay then.  Baltimore 2-14.

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Red’s NFL Picks – AFC North

Red has a distinct fondness for this division.  Not because it is easy to pick (even though it only has 3 teams – take that Browns fans).  But because it is challenging. Every season one team really outperforms expectations and mystifies the pundits – Red included.  So here goes nothing.

Stealers. Many long years ago, Red went to see a late-season game between the Oilers and Stealers in the last days of the Astrodome. He chatted up a few Stealers fans before the game – one of whom told him that it was cheaper for him and his son to fly to Houston, spend the night at a reasonable hotel and buy tickets for the game than it would be to get two ticket to a Stealers home game.  With fans like that name Red one good reason why the AFC Championship game should not be a rematch of last year when the Patriots steamrolled the Stealers 36-17 in a game that wasn’t even that close. Of course, losing Le’Veon Bell early on and having some dude named Chris Hogan be the hero with 2 TDs and 180 yards doesn’t help your cause.  So why pick the Stealers? It’s a good question.  Will this be the year that Bell actually suits up for 16 games?  He is playing on the franchise tag, so he has a lot to prove for a big payday.  Can Big Ben hold his battered, bruised and frequently broken body together for one more season of greatness?  Can a Stealers defense that was nothing short of awful against the Pats snap back? Will the Stealers avoid last season’s horrific start? Will dead Dan Rooney (ensconced in the luxurious NFL wing of St. Peter’s Estates) be taunting the emaciated ghost of Al Davis as he walks the netherworld searching for another Superb Owl ring for all eternity?  Lots of questions?  Red has no real answers, except that with a relatively easy first 5 games, the Stealers should not have to count on a 7 game winning streak to secure a playoff spot like they did in 2016.  And to give you one good reason the Stealers might not be in the AFC Championship game.  They’re called the Oakland Raiders (somewhere Al Davis lets loose a croaky “Just Win Baby”).   Pittsburgh goes 10-6 and wins the North nonetheless.

Ravens. Flacco Joe’s deal with Satan must have timed out.  After all, the first 5 seasons of FJ’s NFL career are basically unmatched by any other quarterback.  Flacco Joe led his team to 5 straight playoff appearances culminating in the Ravens second NFL title in 2012.  He was the first rookie quarterback to win 2 playoff games.  He had the most wins by a quarterback in his first 6 and 7 seasons. He was the first NFL quarterback to win a playoff game in each of his first 5 seasons.  But since 2012, there has been one playoff win (albeit against a good Stealers team in 2014) and lots of disappointment on the Chesapeake.  So it was good while it lasted for FJ, but Red thinks he needs a change of scenery.  Perhaps the Argonauts are in the market for a tall, strong-armed, washed-up quarterback.  Ravens do have some positives.  The combination of Maclin and Perriman at wideout will keep defenses wondering.  Meanwhile, the Ravens defense is a palimpsest of the former playbook  and they are searching for a running game.   Ravens will have to score lots of points to win this season.  They do have longfoot Justin Tucker and his ability to hit from range will keep them in a few games – just not enough games.  Baltimore is 8-8 and sitting at home in January.  

Bengals. Last year Red wrote, “So it’s pretty much make or break time for this current iteration of the Bengals.” Well, “break” it was as the season was pretty damn miserable for the Bengals.  They finally figured out that Jeremy Hill sucks and that Gio Bernard is a “specialty back” and that. yep losing Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu does make a difference.  So they are going young on offense this year with wideouts John Ross and Josh Malone.  And to meet their NFL minimum  requirement of at least one girl-beater per team, they drafted Joe Mixon from OU. The big problem for the Bengals is up front.  They lost all-world left tackle Andrew Whitworth to the Rams and are expecting unproven backups to take up the slack.  As for Red’s favorite distant relation “Red Rifle” Dalton – it looks more and more like one of those wasted careers as far as playoff success goes.  He can cry on LaDanian Tomlinson’s HOF shoulder about that one.  The good news for Bengals fans (and Red) is that this won’t be the year when the Bengals ignominiously lose their 9th playoff game in a row – because they won’t have a chance.  Cincinnati goes 7-9.

Browns. Does Red really have to say anything here?  He thought not, but here goes anyway.  Red gives the Browns credit for trying to build a team in the old-fashioned way with major upgrades to both lines with additions of JC Tretter and Kevin Zeitler on O line and first round pick Myles Garret and rookie Larry Ogunjobi on the D line.  Browns might actually win a division game with Bengals and Ravens trending down.  Jets, Jaguars, Chargers and Bears are other chances to win.   Browns improve, Brock Osweiler doesn’t completely suck – mostly because he is on the bench, but no one notices.  Cleveland swaggers to 6-10.

Red’s 2015 NFL “Dead Man of the Year” Award

Before we get to Red’s annual NFL Predictions, there is the presentation of the 2015 NFL Dead Man of the Year Award

For those not in the know, the award is given annually to the player who went from a meaningful contribution to his team in the previous season to utter worthlessness. In other words, the player who contributed about as much as a “Dead Man.”

There really wasn’t much serious competition in 2015.   Justin Forsett comes to mind – but who really thinks about JF other than those – who like Red who were foolish enough to spend loads of dough on him in fantasy football.  And injury alone will not get you a coveted DMOY award. Matthew Stafford was certainly comatose if not dead for most of 2015 and was the major factor in the Lions return to irrelevancy. Chris Johnson was playing behind what some thought was the second or third best offensive line in football and still managed to rack up all of 840 yards and 3 TDs (fortunately for CJ he was dead in 2014 and thus ineligible).  CJ Anderson was on life support for most of the season, but was released from intensive care to contribute in some fashion to the Broncos remarkable playoff run.

In Red’s humble opinion – the only one that counts here – it was a slam dunk over the goal post for the one player who got more press for his utter personal worthlessness than for his demonstrated on-the-field worthlessness. That would be none other than Johnny Manziel aka Johnny Football aka Jonathan F. Football.   JFF had the perfect trifecta of sucking at football, life and as a legal client.  Let’s roll some of the 2015 highlights.

In October, Manziel was pulled over by a policeman after fighting in his car with his soon to be ex-girlfriend. Although he was not arrested, the supposedly sober JF admitted to drinking booze earlier that afternoon. Right!

On November 24, a week after Manziel was announced as the Browns’ starter for the remainder of the season, coach Mike Pettine demoted Manziel to third string after a video of him partying surfaced on the internet. And surprise, surprise, surprise, it was later discovered that Manziel had lied about the video.

On January 2, 2016, the night before the Browns final game, Manziel was spotted partying at Las Vegas’ Planet Hollywood casino. Manziel was scratched from the final game because of a concussion. But as word of his appearance at the casino spread across social media, he posted a photo on Instagram of himself and his dog at home. Manziel then failed to report for his concussion protocol.  This led to reports that the Browns are “so done with Manziel” (true) and that he “wants to go to Dallas (Cowboys)” (oh, how Red wishes that were also true).

Red salutes Johnny Manziel as the winner of Red’s 2015 NFL Dead Man of the Year.   Johnny, you earned it the old-fashioned way – You Sucked.