The Browns are looking at Sunday’s game in Cincinnati as an event, a happening, an opportunity, a ... wait for it ... moment.
In normal NFL circles, it’s not really typical for a 4-5 team to look at the chance to get to .500 as special, but Cleveland has been anything but normal in recent years. With this team moments are defined by struggles.
The Browns won 23 games the five seasons, and in nine of the seasons before 2013 they lost at least 10 games.
The last time the Browns were .500 after 10 games was 2007 (6-4).
There are many other numbers that show why Sunday against the Bengals is meaningful. Among them:
108 -- The total number of losses in the 10 seasons prior to this one.
5-11 -- The average won-loss record in those seasons, even with a 10-win season in 2007.
3.4 -- The average number of wins for the Browns after 10 games in the past 10 seasons.
2002 -- The last time the Browns swept the Bengals in a season (a win Sunday gives the Browns the sweep this season).
2007 -- The last time the Browns swept any AFC North team in a season.
2007 -- The last time the Browns won three games in the AFC North, which they would do with a win Sunday.
Never -- The last time the Browns had a winning record in the AFC North.
That’s correct ... the best the Browns have done in the AFC North since it was created in 2002 is 3-3.
Yes, all these “last times” had to end at some point. That they are ending -- or could be ending -- is a good thing. But the numbers bring serious perspective to why the chance to get to 5-5 at this point of the season means something in Cleveland.
As D’Qwell Jackson said, the fans would say it’s time, and the team says it’s time as well.
One bright spot: The 10th game seems to be a good one for the Browns.
Since 2001 -- two years after expansion -- the Browns have gone 7-5 in their 10th game.
So ... there’s that.