While the New England Patriots have had some edge-of-your-seat games the past few weeks, it’s likely that trend stops Sunday. The Cleveland Browns (4-8) will almost certainly get pummeled into the icy ground of Gillette Stadium, which is just fine by Pats fans. But for the sake of excitement, here’s a few things to watch for with this match-up.
Jason Campbell’s audition for his next job
The Browns announced on Dec. 6 that Jason Campbell will be their starting quarterback
against the Patriots. Campbell is no Tom Brady, but Brandon Weeden and his three interceptions in the past two weeks kind of made this an easy call for Cleveland’s coaching staff. And hey, Campbell actually helped the 4-8 Browns knock off the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens on Nov. 3. Even if he delivered another improbable win for the boys in brown this Sunday, it’s likely that Cleveland will select a quarterback in this year’s draft to try to find stability at the position. Campbell will be hoping to turn at least a few heads in NFL front offices with a strong performance against the Patriots, as his time with the Browns is likely coming to an end.
Bill Belichick’s subtle smiles as he defeats his old team
It gets brought up every time these two teams play one another, but in case anyone needs a refresher, Bill Belichick coached the Browns from 1991-1995 before being fired. Yeah, even he couldn’t turn that franchise around. Earlier this week, Belichick mentioned in a press conference
that those years in Cleveland were important to him. But hey, don’t think the ol’ hoodie won’t take pride in beating the Browns this weekend. That’s one of the many great things about Belichick. Even though he tries to play it cool, he always has a few candid moments on the sideline when he shows how he’s really feeling. Look out for a few snarky smirks hiding under the hood if the Pats start to pull away from Belichick’s old employers.
Julian Edelman doing his best Barry Sanders impression
How does the little guy do it? I mean, I shouldn’t talk since the 5’10” Edelman and I are the same height. But then again, our job descriptions are quite different. It’s not often I need to maneuver past 250-300-pound men looking to make me eat turf. With Randy Moss, Brandon Lloyd, Wes Welker, and Deion Branch all gone, Edelman has become one of Brady’s favorite receivers. He has 70 receptions so far this year, good for eighth-best in the NFL. Edelman is nothing if not fun to watch and Brady will probably give him plenty of chances to juke and jive against the Browns.
There’s a lot to love about New England’s future Hall of Fame quarterback. But this season he’s been flat out awesome. Forget about his 3,267 yards passing and 19 touchdowns, remember this sideline moment
? Or how about angry Tom
after the Carolina game on “Monday Night Football”? And we can’t forget about the time he went full Gronk after scoring against Denver
. Brady is easily one of the NFL’s best players right now but not just for statistical reasons. The guy hasn’t been hiding his emotions much on game day this season. Don’t blink when the camera switches to Brady on the sideline this Sunday.
It’s not often that the New England area cable networks offer the region’s residents a chance to watch a Cleveland Browns game. Patriots fans, if you’re not familiar with Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, you will be after this Sunday. The Baylor product has chosen to make 2013 his breakout season with 1,249 receiving yards on 64 receptions – seven of which were for touchdowns. Gordon has the third-most reception yards in the league this year and he’s had guys named Campbell, Weeden, and Brian Hoyer (yeah, that guy) throwing him the ball. Think about that. Obviously the Pats faithful will be rooting against Gordon’s team but he’ll be a treat to watch for an audience that doesn’t get to see him play that often.