AFC NORTH PREVIEW: Browns looking for unlikely win vs. Chiefs
Now Jason Campbell, No. 20 in the starting quarterbacks parade in Cleveland, gets his chance. His first mission: trying to beat the undefeated Chiefs. In Kansas City.
Hardly an enviable task for the nine-year veteran and 2005 first-round pick of the Redskins who has bounced around the NFL. The Browns are his fourth team, and he is their third starter this season, after Brandon Weeden and now-injured Brian Hoyer.
“It’s an opportunity to go out there and just get back to the game and just having fun,” Campbell said. “Obviously, we want to go win games and do the best we can.
“But at the same time we understand we’re a growing football team and our goal and mission every week is to go out and win games. The one thing we can’t forget is just to get back to having fun.”
The Chiefs (7-0) haven’t made it fun for any opponents this season. They’re the only remaining perfect team because their defense is opportunistic, sack-crazy and, well, so darn good.
Cleveland’s defense is pretty staunch as well, and has sacks from 13 players, tied for the most in the league.
But it’s nine takeaways are 10 fewer than Kansas City’s, and the Chiefs have two of the NFL’s leading sackmasters in linebackers Justin Houston (10) and Tamba Hali (nine).
“You go in every week respecting every opponent,” linebacker Derrick Johnson said, “but at the same time, we don’t really care who plays as long as we execute our defensive scheme.”
The last time Campbell started, he was with the Bears and they lost 32-7 to the 49ers last season. That doesn’t bode well for Cleveland (3-4).
NEW YORK JETS (4-3) AT CINCINNATI (5-2): Two teams that have used special teams for some special wins. Three of New York’s victories have come off the foot of Nick Folk, who’s hit all 16 field goal attempts thus far.
The last two Bengals wins were clinched by former Jets kicker Mike Nugent, including a 54-yarder to win at Detroit last Sunday.
The Jets have won four in a row and nine of the past 10 against Cincinnati. The last matchup at Paul Brown Stadium was a Jets playoff win in 2009.
Cincinnati has a two-game lead in the division. Even so, the Bengals had thousands of tickets unsold less than a week before kickoff. The game finally sold out Thursday.
It’s their history.
They haven’t won a playoff game since the 1990 season, a stretch of futility tied for seventh longest in NFL history.
They haven’t done very well at home in recent years, going 11-13 at Paul Brown Stadium from 2010-12.
They might finally be establishing a home-field advantage. They’re 3-0 at home this season and packing the place.