Cleansing The Browns Of All Their Past Demons, Part II - Divisional Playoff Preview Presented By Skyhio

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I truly can't believe we are at this moment…

The Browns are in a spot where they're one of six teams remaining (I know, scheduling makes it appear that way) vying for the Super Bowl. They have a one-in-three spot to get there for the first time in franchise history. Is it likely? No, I'd venture to say it is unlikely… but I am really fucking excited nonetheless.

These are the moments to cherish, Browns fans. Soak it all in. They should be on the up and up, but you never know in the NFL (EX: the Jacksonville Jaguars), so enjoy the success while you can.

Before we cleanse the demons once again (it worked last week), I figured I'd break down today's game with three bullet points:

1) The Browns get a ton of guys back today, and injuries, in general, will play a role:
- Normal week of practice and prep (zero positive COVID tests)
- Head Coach Kevin Stefanski - BACK
- Offensive Line Coach Bill Callahan - BACK 
- Assistant Offensive Line Coach Scott Peters - BACK 
- All-Pro OG Joel Bitonio - BACK 
- Pro Bowl CB Denzel Ward - BACK 
- WR KhaDarel Hodge - BACK 
- CB Kevin Johnson - BACK

On top of that, the Browns expect Jack Conklin (OT) and David Njoku (TE) to play today, which is just massive news. The Browns have the best line in the NFL when healthy (though, down two guys last week they still gave up no sacks) and run the most three tight end packages. The key pieces are there for the Browns, no excuses of "they were short-handed" can really be present.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs will be down Sammy Watkins (WR, who had a little shit talk last Sunday about possibly not being that worried about the Browns), Willie Gay (LB), and the biggest injury note of the game, rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB). The expected absence of Edwards-Helaire is pretty big, seeing as to how the Browns' defense is horrible but old Steelers foe Le'Veon Bell will be on the other side. He has had a handful of really good games against Cleveland and historically had some nice success.

UPDATE: The Chiefs' backup right tackle now might not play today…

Could be big…

2) The Browns' strengths match up well with the Chiefs' weaknesses:
- Browns Base Rush Offense Ranking: 3rd
- Browns Rush Offense DVOA Ranking: 7th

- Chiefs Base Rush Defense Ranking: 21st
- Chiefs Rush Defense DVOA Ranking: 31st

The Browns offense is built in a way that works well against the Chiefs defense. There's no question that, despite their poor recent play, if the Browns can run the ball on the Steelers, they can run the ball on anyone. This will actually be an incredibly rare instance today where the Browns will have all of their running backs, tight ends, and offensive linemen. Today will be the first day they've had all of their pieces on offense since Week 13 against the Titans (a game in which they moved the ball at will, but mostly focused on the passing game). I think the rushing attack will be the focus, but you just never know with Kevin Stefanski, he seems to trust Baker Mayfield, and it has paid off lately.


I also think the pass-rush group, led by Myles Garrett, can get to Patrick Mahomes. But that seems to be an irrelevant task at times since he is immortal, and that leads to the issue at my third bullet point…

3) The Chiefs' strengths match up well with the Browns' weaknesses… and then some:
- Browns Base Defense Ranking: 25th
- Browns Defense DVOA Ranking: 17th

- Chiefs Base Offense Ranking: 1st
- Chiefs Offense DVOA Ranking: 2nd

Not much to say about those numbers. They speak for themselves, the Browns defense fucking stinks, and Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are elite. I am fearful of the speed over the top for the Chiefs. The Browns were able to bottle up the big play from the Steelers last week but stopping Mahomes a different beast. Having Denzel Ward & Kevin Johnson back this week, their starting cornerbacks, is massive, but how much will it matter? Travis Kelce meanwhile is a matchup nightmare for a Browns team that, even when healthy, can't cover anybody, especially at the tight end position. The Browns will need some luck on defense today. Throughout the final half of the season, the Chiefs have kept games closer than they probably should have, but I think they were coasting. They're going to come out firing today, and I am not sure the Browns can stop them.

On the flip side, while their defense clearly has holes and is susceptible to allowing big games on the ground, we saw them stop a great New Orleans rushing attack a few weeks ago, so I wouldn't put it past the Chiefs' defense to step up today big time.

It won't be anywhere near easy this week, hell, calling it "difficult" even seems like a stretch. The Kansas City Chiefs are the defending Super Bowl Champions and outweigh the Browns in almost every category. As I said last week, the Browns need some extra power tonight…

The Divisional Round has actually not been the biggest nightmare for the Browns, they've had some success in the round over the course of their history. Recently getting there has been a problem, but usually, the heartbreak has arrived in the Conference Championship Game. Still, the Browns have one moment we can cleanse…

January 4th, 1981 - Raiders def. Browns, 14-12


For those unaware of this play, it is one of "those" moments in Cleveland sports history. It has a name, it breaks people's hearts to this day, and it is just another moment that needs cleansing.

The Browns had the ball with under a minute to go on a second down at the Raiders' 13-yard line down 14-12. All game they had kicking issues, as Don Crockoft had missed two field goals, and one extra point. They wanted to make sure they could try and punch it in the endzone without worrying about the kicking game. Unfortunately, Brian Sipe (every dad's favorite quarterback) tried to fit the ball into too tight of a window for Ozzie Newsome, and it got picked off. Instead of throwing it away, the Browns found themselves on the losing end… and the Raiders went onto win the Super Bowl.


Andy Reid has historically beaten the snot out of the Browns, with the above game being one of the few close games. The Browns finally snapped their losing streak to the Eagles this season, but, of course, Andy Reid is obviously in Kansas City now, so their winless streak against the future-Hall of Famer remains intact:
- 2018: Chiefs def. Browns, 37-21
- 2015: Chiefs def. Browns, 17-13
- 2013: Chiefs def. Browns, 23-17
- 2012: Eagles def. Browns, 17-16
- 2008: Eagles def. Browns, 30-10
- 2004: Eagles def. Browns, 34-31 (OT)
- 2000: Eagles def. Browns, 35-24

Eventually, they have to beat them, right? Maybe? I guess if they don't this year, they have another shot next year, but Reid will likely be out of the game eventually, you'd think.

Regardless, the Browns have snapped a ton of long, long streaks this season (winning season, Playoff draught, Playoff losing streak, beating the Steelers twice, Heinz Field losing streak, Cowboys losing streak, Eagles losing streak, etc.), so this would be a great time to end another one.

Okay, I have nothing else to cleanse. The Browns have lost some Divisional games before, but not every loss is a heartbreak.


How about we channel something positive? Let's look at the last time the Browns won in Kansas City, one of the most hilarious games I've ever seen…

Jerome Harrison rushed for fucking 286 yards! That was one of the greatest single-game rushing performances in the history of the league. It would be nice to have Nick Chubb & Kareem Hunt (CHUNT!) rush for that many yards today… feel like that isn't a crazy take.


I have no real feelings today. I am fucking excited as can be, but I don't expect them to win. This is house money. The Browns have finally made progress, and everything seems to be changing. If they lose, bummer, if they win… oh boy…

Shock the world?