Before everyone gets to calling Cleveland the new "Titletown, U.S.A." for real, let's take a look at how the city's non-MLB/NBA sports franchise is doing. Oh, yes, the Browns. They fell to 0-8 after blowing a historically big lead to the New York Jets on Sunday, indicating that a winless season just might be attainable. Only once in NFL history has a team played 16 games and lost every time: the 2008 Detroit Lions. Matt Millen's legacy.
The Browns don't have what the typical NFL team fighting for a playoff spot would call a "difficult" remaining regular-season schedule. Only the Dallas Cowboys, their opponent next week, appear to be a certain playoff team, though the Pittsburgh Steelers (November 20th, January 1st) and the New York Giants (November 27th) also have posted a winning record to date. Among the near- or at-.500 crowd, the Baltimore Ravens (November 10th), the Cincinnati Bengals (December 11th), and the Buffalo Bills (December 18th) could jockey for a playoff spot until the end. Only the Chargers (November 24th) are probably out of the race, but they're certainly better than the Browns right now. Then again, everyone can say that.
Sunday seemed like Cleveland's best chance to avoid historical embarrassment. They led 20-7 at halftime against the Jets, with quarterback Josh McCown having thrown for 227 yards—the most by a Browns slinger since none other than Bernie Kosar in 1986. The non-Jim Brown glory days. The Reggie Langhorne days. And then the Jets mounted the best second-half comeback in team history, as the Washington Post noted, while Cleveland put up a measly 133 yards to finish with a 31-28 loss.
Oof. As the Post notes, Cleveland's best shot might be Week 17 if the Steelers are resting their best players because they've clinched something already. The Browns, should they go without a victory, would be the fifth winless team in NFL history. It will be up to GM Kevin Costner to turn this thing around in the off-season.