The National Football League (NFL), like most professional sports leagues, has natural rivalries that excite fans and cause players to reach a point that enables them to perform at a higher level. A game between the New York Jets and New York Giants, scheduled to be played this Sunday, is one of many rivalry games that bring out the best in players and force fans to “sit on the edge of their seats.”
Another great rivalry game will be played Sunday afternoon at 1 PM in Cleveland, Ohio. In this game, the Cleveland Browns, a squad that finds itself in last place in the North Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) with a Won-Loss record of 2-9 will host the first place team in its division, the Cincinnati Bengals, a squad that has won nine of eleven games played.
Obviously, both teams call the state of Ohio home and that makes this contest a “must-see” rivalry game even though the Bengals appear to be the superior squad. As is almost always the case in rivalry games, past records can be “tossed out the window.”
As any true sports fan knows, the heat of a rivalry game often results in stellar performances and surprise wins by squads that, on paper, appear to be hopelessly inferior. Cleveland, this Sunday’s home team, should be “easy pickings” for the powerful visitors from Cincinnati.
But, if past performances were guarantees of future success there would be no need for these two “mismatched” squads to face off against one another.
The Cleveland Browns, like the Cincinnati Bengals, are a professional football team whose roster is filled with talented, capable and highly-paid athletes. A solid performance by this team’s players can easily enable it to “pull off an upset.”
In truth, the Bengals may feel as if they are on “cruise control” because they own a three game lead over the second place Pittsburgh Steelers with only five regular season games remaining to be played. If this normally tough-minded group of performers believes it can simply show up to win the game, it could be in for a real surprise. QB Andy Dalton will have to lead his team to the best of his abilities to solidify a win.
The Cleveland Browns, despite their losing record, have been competitive in most of the games they have played this year. A solid performance against a team that is just “mailing it in” could lead to a stunning upset. The Browns will be led by QB Austin Davis this week who is in for injured QB Josh McCown.
That’s what happens in the National Football League with alarming frequency. Professional football is a game that is played with emotion, determination and desire as well as athletic ability. If players give anything less than a top-level performance the team whose uniform they wear will likely go home a loser.
Cleveland’s players and coaches are already “playing for next year.” Solid performances on the field and skillful coaching from the sideline can help players and coaches alike retain their jobs.
Courtesy of Bleacher Report