I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Cleveland Browns Head Coach Freddie Kitchens is not going to get NFL Coach of the Year honors.
I know, there is no argument to support such a case, but seemingly on a weekly basis we get new reasons to discount the five-and-dime Cleveland coach. This week, here is a funny one, he is wearing a shirt that says, “Pittsburgh started it.”
They are also selling the “Freddie Kitchens” shirts, but before you think you are supporting the Browns or that their coach is stimulating a big effort today by his team, consider who that shirt is really inspiring. You are rubbing in the face of the Steelers a game played just two weeks ago in Cleveland where you halted an eight game streak without a win against your long time nemesis in the AFC North Division.
Is this a good idea Freddie?
You won that game, 21-7, and while it can be argued that Mason Rudolph might have initiated unnecessary roughness, to blame him for the escalation is akin to blaming a driver who flipped off a car swerving into his lane who got in retaliation a gun fired at him.
Your guy, one of your best players, Miles Garett, escalated the tug into a war, and you have lost your overall number one pick in the 2017 draft for at least the rest of the season. Now, two weeks later, you are bringing attention back to the fight at FirstEnergy Stadium when you need to play the Steelers at Heinz Field?
Ever listen to words Jim Croce wrote more than forty years ago, “Don’t tug on Superman’s cape.”
But the Browns have tugged on the cape of a team they hadn’t beaten since 2014 before their home Thursday night win just a little more than two weeks ago. If I was coaching the Browns, I wouldn’t want them to be overconfident based on one recent performance, but more focussed on what it would take to not get run out of Pittsburgh by a Steelers team seeking revenge for both their recent loss and embarrassing end of the game fight.
Alas, I am not coaching the Browns, so I think the Cleveland coach is on his team to be confident, and the public agrees with his enthusiasm, piling on this play while moving Cleveland from a slight underdog to a favorite of 2½ points or more.
The Baltimore Ravens have run away from both the Steelers and Browns in their division race, and a win by Cleveland here would almost certainly eliminate the Steelers from postseason consideration. But, with a victory, Pittsburgh could pull to within one game of the Ravens today if Baltimore was to have their eight game win streak snapped by the visiting San Francisco 49ers.
So, what does this all mean?
It means Pittsburgh probably did start it; and now they are going to finish it.
Qoxhi Picks: Pittsburgh Steelers (+2½) over Cleveland Browns