Remember all those things you thought about the Cincinnati Bengals just one week ago, now project them on the Cleveland Browns. Even Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde have a better feeling for who is going to show up each week.

The Bengals moved up in the AFC North standings without having to play this past week. Remember the Browns trampled Cincy seven days earlier. They are just one game back on the last spot in the AFC playoff race.

The Browns didn’t come to play this past week and now have five losses in 10 tries and are back on the bottom of the AFC North.

Which team do you think will win the AFC North in 2021?

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The Browns were out “everythinged” Nov. 14 against the Patriots. Outplayed, outhustled, outperformed and most all outcoached.

It’s going to take a while to understand why after the first drive of the game, the Browns sprinted away from the run so fast. D’Ernest Johnson’s 58 yards on the ground in the first scoring drive for the Browns should have been the way to go in the game against New England. In the end, it became a head scratcher.

The Browns ran the ball five times on their first possession. Those five carries accounted for a quarter of the total rushing plays the Browns ran all game. In a game where the Browns averaged 5 yards per carry, Kevin Stefanski, the Browns head coach and offensive play caller, looked like incoming freshman at Bill Belichick University. I don’t want to hear the Browns were in a scoring hole and needed to pass. Time was not a factor with three quarters to go. Especially if the defense would have tackled, rather than trying to strip or “tackle the ball” on every play. The defense played desperate after falling behind so quickly.

The Browns lost control after Baker Mayfield threw an interception that led to a one play rushing touchdown by Rhamondre Stevenson. The Browns were down 14-7, rather than shake it off, they played like they were down 100.

Remember the success of the run on the first drive? Five plays later and just one run, New England had the ball back after a punt. Here’s where the game ended, and the Browns let rookie quarterback Mac Jones look like Tom Brady. Eleven plays, 99 yards. Browns down 21-7 after Jones threw a 23-yard touchdown pass. Still almost six minutes to go in the first quarter and the game was over.

The negative express was full in Brownstown. The honeymoon is over for Stefanski, and the Baker Mayfield commercials are getting more irritating by the moment. They are funny when the team is doing well. When the team is losing, you are hoping they are selling brick insurance for the glass that just exploded in your living room.

What in the world of sports are you most excited about right now?

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The game is over and what is left are seven games to see if the Browns can get to the playoffs. The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Detroit Lions tied last week. The Browns have Detroit at home this week. A loss to the winless Lions will have us wondering where we will be for the NFL Draft in April. I’m sure Las Vegas is going to throw an amazing party.

No matter who the quarterback is on the field, the Browns are now at a breaking point. They can roll over and prove they are the same old Browns or do something with the last seven games in eight weeks and prove that this franchise has changed its culture and how it gets things done on the field.

Cavs impressive

How many games do you think the Cleveland Cavaliers will win in the 2021-22 season?

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No matter what happens next, the Cleveland Cavaliers have been fun to watch at the start of the season. Finding ways to win using the 7-footers to baffle the competition has been great. Getting to nine wins without Kevin Love, Colin Sexton and Lauri Markkanen really is impressive.

The next hurdle could be even tougher. Rookie standout Even Mobley hurt his elbow in the loss to the Boston Celtics Nov. 15. The elbow sprain needed an MRI and he’s expected to miss 2- 4 weeks of action on the court. Mobley should be the jersey to buy this Chanukah. His hustle, 14 points per game, 8 rebound, and 2.5 assist per game have brought back some Cavs fans from the LeBron James era. The franchise is going in the right direction. Keep your fingers crossed the Cavs make this work all season.


If you have a suggestion for a column idea for Andy Baskin, send him an email at columnists@cjn.org. He can be heard on “Baskin & Phelps” weekdays on 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland at audacy.com.

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