The Cleveland Browns are 3-1 for the first time since 2001 and people are excited for them. Not so fast though.
This time last year there wasn’t really a team under as much scrutiny as the Cleveland Browns, who a lot of people had picked to win the AFC North and make it deep into the playoffs. Instead, the Browns struggled to juggle all of their egos in the locker room and their head coach was not the man for the job in Cleveland, getting fired after just one year at the helm.
Fast forward to Week 5 of the NFL, and the Browns are 3-1 heading into their fifth game. This is something they haven’t accomplished since 2001, so it’s worth celebrating, especially for Browns fans who haven’t had much to celebrate in the franchise’s existence.
While being 3-1 is fun and exciting, Browns fans should taper expectations and not feel a playoff berth is a guarantee. First and foremost, that 2001 team I told you about? They ended the year 7-9 and missed the playoffs. So while that team got off to a good start, it didn’t end the way fans had likely expected it to at that point in time.
Secondly, the schedule has been pretty easy for Cleveland to this point. Their three wins have come against Cincinnati, Washington, and Dallas and those teams have a combined record of 3-8-1, which obviously isn’t very good. The one time Cleveland faced a team who was a playoff contender came in Week 1 against Baltimore, and the Browns got their butts whooped.
The Browns have been an explosive offense these past three weeks, but those have come against bottom-tier defenses and their schedule won’t remain that easy unfortunately. This weekend they face the Colts, who have one of the best defenses in the league, and the next week is against the Steelers and we know how good that defense is.
Cleveland will benefit from playing against the NFC East this year, which should result in four easy wins (they’re halfway there), but their own division is going to be tough, especially with three total games left against the Steelers and Ravens. We’ll see what kind of a team the Browns really are when they face those two teams and if it’s anything like their performance in Week 1, this team won’t look anything like their 3-1 record would indicate.
Browns fans have every right to be excited, but let’s pump the brakes on them actually being good this year. There’s still a long season to go.