prediction, but that three-win-leap-of-faith has more to do with the NFL's competitive balance (Any Given Sunday is more than just a cliche and a kickass film; it's a fierce mantra that separates the NFL from the inferior college product) than my confidence in the 2012 Brownies. If you read this space last year (and judging from the hits, you didn't), you know I was one of the first local media members to call out the suspect hiring of Pat Shurmur. Last week's home opener only reinforced Genuine Pat's status as the worst coach in Browns history, no easy feat with Chris Palmer and Coach Crennel so vivid in my memory. Simply put, I expect to lose every Sunday. That doesn't mean I'm numb to it. It hurts each week, in different ways. But I'm done fooling myself. As long as Shurm walks the sideline, the Browns will continue to surrender those inches that make up the difference between victory and defeat.
Look, the great majority of winning football clubs are defined by their QB and their HC. And to boot, the relationship between the two is the most important relationship in sports. In Cleveland, you have to go back to Schottenheimer and Kosar to feel good about those parts. I came away from our loss yesterday thinking we might be halfway there with BWeeden. Then I remembered, come December 31st, Pat Shurmur will officially be relieved of his duties. And a rush of calmness filled my bones. One year from now, you can be goddamn sure I'll expect to win on Sunday. Whether or not we actually will, who knows? The name on the door is Cleveland, after all. But at least I'll have my belief back.
Falcons (-3) over Broncos, 2 dimes
Last week: 1-0 (+3 dimes)
Who is the Vox?
SamVox is not a professional handicapper, but a premier one. He has been gambling his entire adult life and has experienced every sickening turn and nasty twist of fate that occurs during a football season. What distinguishes the Vox is his amazing intuition, astoundingly long memory, attention to detail and preparation, aversion to propaganda and access to the industry's sharpest bettors. He is a two time Pick'Em champion and went 115-100-11 against the spread with his Vox Lox over four seasons. His critically-dismissed Vox in the Box column also appears here at Cleveland Sports Torture.