In what amounts to a walkover, the Browns finally catch a break in the schedule Sunday when the pathetic Carolina Panthers invade CBS for what is expected to be a rout.
The Panthers are so bad, they're beyond pathetic and should offer little or no resistance to the Browns despite the fact Jake Delhomme returns at quarterback. Yes, Captain Interception masks his first start since the season opener against the team that deemed him washed up.
And if that doesn't give the veteran enough incentive, nothing will, especially against a team that has surrendered 252 points in 10 games. And when that team has the ball, it has managed an astounding 117 points, nearly half of them (55) by kicker John Kasay.
If stats like that don't strongly suggest the Browns are finally going to have fun beating up on someone else, snack on these. Only 143 first downs, 10 touchdown passes, a paltry 1,561 passing yards, a minus-10 turnover ratio and a minus-135 point differential that leads the National Football League. All signs point toward a fun afternoon for the fans.
The only threats the Panthers offer are wide receiver Steve Smith, still dangerous despite working with young quarterbacks, and second-year running back Mike Goodson, who ripped off 120 yards last week in the loss to the Baltimore Ravens in place of the injured DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart.
The ineffective offensive line has permitted 30 sacks and produces less than 100 yards on the ground for offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson, who held that job at one time with the Browns. Right now, the Panthers, whose only victory was a 23-20 home decision over the equally pathetic San Francisco 49ers in week 7, are just playing out the schedule. They lead the pack for the No. 1 pick in April's college draft.
John Fox is a fired coach walking. He'll find work elsewhere next season as a defensive coordinator, perhaps with the Browns should another team find Rob Ryan attractive enough to offer yet another Ryan a head coaching job.
In the meantime, picking the winner in this one is almost too easy. It won't be close. When the sun (being optimistic here) sets on the afternoon, make it:
Browns 34, Panthers 10