The 2012 NFL season is upon us with exactly three weeks until the Giants and Cowboys kickoff the games that count. We will be previewing the top 32 teams in reverse order giving our preseason power rankings at the same time. Bad news for Browns fans as they kickoff our countdown as team No. 32.
32. Cleveland Browns
My allegiance to this team will not allow my power rankings to be skewed. Let’s face it Browns fans, this is not our year. But look on the bright side, we have new ownership coming in which almost certainly means another rebuild project.
The core of the future of this team will be decided upon in 2012. Questions remain about the vaunted quarterback spot for the Browns. Will Brandon Weeden be the one to take this organization to the next level? The window is barely open with Weeden turning 29 this season and they have to come away with an answer to this question. It seems that the last two drafts have answered some of the personnel questions as Trent Richardson has all the appearances of a franchise back and they have built a solid, young core on defense. But, let’s face it, this team is built for the future and not the now.
The Browns were dealt some serious blows leading up to the preseason. Phil Taylor was more than solid in year one with the Browns but he looks to be sidelined for a good portion of the season. Their linebacking group was thin at best and now Chris Gocong goes down for the season. Scott Fujita will miss the first three contests due to league suspension. Trent Richardson is having knee issues and will miss the entire preseason. And the latest blow, Joe Haden’s possible suspension due to a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. Combine all these factors with the fact that you have a rookie quarterback in a division that has eaten QB’s alive for the last decade and you have a perfect storm.
I haven’t mentioned the schedule yet. It’s brutal for the Browns.
Sept. 9 – Philadelphia Eagles
Sept. 16 – at Cincinnati Bengals
Sept. 23 – Buffalo Bills
Sept. 27 – at Baltimore Ravens
Oct. 7 – at New York Giants
Oct. 14 – Cincinnati Bengals
Oct. 21 – at Indianapolis Colts
Oct. 28 – San Diego Chargers
Nov. 4 – Baltimore Ravens
Nov. 11 – BYE
Nov. 18. – at Dallas Cowboys
Nov. 25 – Pittsburgh Steelers
Dec. 2 – at Oakland Raiders
Dec. 9 – Kansas City Chiefs
Dec. 16 – Washington Redskins
Dec. 23 – at Denver Broncos
Dec. 30 – at Pittsburgh Steelers
Having trouble finding winnable games on that schedule…me too. I don’t think the Browns are the worst team in the league but they were dealt a hand that really isn’t playable. Will they fold, and finish with the first overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft or can the youngsters find ways to win games that they shouldn’t?