The Cleveland Browns have been Super Bowl bound since January.
At least that is what media outlets and various sports personalities have been saying.
Why did they make this prediction?
It is because the Browns had a great 2020 and an even better 2021 offseason with the free agent signings and draft selections.
The media hype that said the Browns are Super Bowl bound does not mean a thing unless the team wins a lot of regular season games.
Now that the Browns have fallen to 3-2 in a hard fought defeat to the equally playoff worthy 4-1 Los Angeles Chargers, how should fans feel about those Super Bowl chances?
They should probably feel a little worse about them, and here is why.
1. The Browns Have Not Won A Big Game Against A Playoff Contender
This is an unfortunate fact that dates back to the 2020 divisional playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
It continued in Week 1 also against the Chiefs.
The third example was on Sunday against the Chargers.
All of these teams are playoff contenders (and in the case of the 2020 Kansas City Chiefs, AFC Champions).
The other common thread among these three games is that all were on the road.
So in hostile environments, the Browns have not won a big one in their past three opportunities.
They have played very well for substantial chunks of these games but cannot close them out with victories.
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) October 10, 2021
2. The Browns Must Overcome Poor Officiating
Every team is at the mercy of good and poor officiating.
The Browns had their share with the fumble-touchback and helmet-to-helmet mess in the divisional playoff.
Then, there was the slew of pass interference and non pass interference calls in the Chargers game.
Playoff bound teams have to overcome all adversity including poor officiating.
As much as bad calls sting, there are plenty of plays in the game where there were missed opportunities.
The Rally Possum
1st Muni Lot Dumpster
Cleveland, OH 44144 pic.twitter.com/dxwfrBp1Tz
— Browns Rally Possum (@Browns_Possum) October 11, 2021
All Is Not Lost
All of the above is true through Week 5.
There is still plenty of football to be played, and the 3-2 Browns are right in the thick of things.
They are one game behind the 4-1 Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North (tied with the Bengals).
The Browns have a huge game/opportunity in Week 6 to rectify things.
Nothing quells doubts more than beating the last undefeated team in the NFL.
The Browns get that chance against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at home.
One More Thing
The Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers were 3-2 through 5 games last season.
From Weeks 9 through 12, the Bucs lost 3 out of 4 games to the New Orleans Saints (who beat them two times in the regular season), Los Angeles Rams, and Kansas City Chiefs (a preview of the Super Bowl).
No one was talking highly about their Super Bowl chances.
The tide turned in Week 14 when the Bucs went on a 8 game winning streak including the Super Bowl.
All, except the Super Bowl, were road games.
The point is that a lot of football is left to be played.
Even more than last season because we now have an extra regular season game.
This means it is premature to promote or dismiss any team’s Super Bowl chances, including the Browns.
There are issues to fix, as mentioned above, so the Browns need to continue to work and improve each week.