Note to Baker Mayfield: DON’T BLOW IT!
With all the hype surrounding the Cleveland Browns this preseason, if they lose today to Tennessee there will be people jumping off the top of 20-story buildings.
Or drinking heavily after the game. Make that drinking even heavier than they did during the game.
Not the real Browns fans, of course, because we have seen it all. We are no strangers to the agony of defeat.
And that’s why I never believe in hype. Yes, on paper the Browns should be very good, even great.
But the game is played on grass – or fake grass – not paper. So until they live up to the preseason adoration, I am not taking anything for granted.
Well, except the fact that they will beat the Steelers twice this season. That is a sure thing!
Tennessee is not a pushover. But they will not be a threat if the Browns play like they should.
Titans QB Marcus Mariota was a first-round draft pick, but has never lived up to what people thought he would be. Injuries have played a role of course.
But against the Cleveland pass rush, he could be seeing more injuries. This very well could be the best overall defense in Cleveland since the Browns returned to the city.
Tennessee traditionally has a strong defense, but they are going against a pretty good offense today. Mayfield has a lot of weapons around him and should have a big game.
Cleveland has two big question marks: A rookie head coach and a rookie kicker.
Still, I look for Cleveland to thrill the Dawg Pound to the tune of a 30-9 victory.
Meanwhile, a lot of eyes around the league will be on the Pittsburgh-New England game tonight and the battle of two aging quarterbacks.
Tom Brady has never lost to Pittsburgh at home, so the edge definitely goes to the Pats and explains why they are favored by a touchdown or so.
While Brady has a good group around him still, he will miss Gronk. The Pats picked up Antonio Brown on Saturday, but he can’t play tonight.
Brown and Le’Veon Bell are gone from Pittsburgh and the truth is, they will be better without the distractions.
JuJu Smith-Schuster is a solid replacement for AB and James Conner does fine at running back. The big worry for Pittsburgh fans should be the defense. Can they stop the potent Pats attack? The answer is “NO.” New England, 27-10.
In other games, my peerless prognostications are (betting lines in parentheses just for fun):
Baltimore (-6 1/2) over Miami
San Francisco (plus 2) over Tampa
New Orleans (-7) over Houston
Jacksonville (plus 4) over Kansas City
Detroit (plus 1) over Arizona
NY Jets (-3) over Buffalo
Seattle (-7) over Cincy
Atlanta (plus 3 1/2) over Minnesota
Dallas (-7) over NY Giants
Philly (-9) over Washington
Carolina (plus 3) over LA Rams
LA Chargers (-6 1/2) over Indy
Oakland (even) over Denver
LYNN SATERNOW is sports editor of The Herald and The Allied News. He can be reached at email@example.com.