Christmastime, as is usually the case, means riding it out and dreaming of better days for fans of the Browns. Cleveland, at 3-2 earlier this season, is playing as poorly as is any team in the NFL. The Browns haven't won in over a month, and they have thus far only notched a single road victory in 2013.
There will be no raising this Titanic.
Cleveland Browns at New York Jets preview: Sit him
Cleveland cornerback Joe Haden is not expected to be an available option this Sunday. Haden, who suffered a hip pointer last weekend in his team's losing effort against the Chicago Bears, hasn't practiced this week. There are some whispers out there that Haden could be shut down by the Browns before Week 17.
The Browns were tied with the Bears at 17 when Haden was lost for the game in the third quarter. Jay Cutler lit up the Cleveland secondary after that, and Chicago outscored the Browns 21-14 en route to earning the win. Much has been made over the past several weeks about how many points the Cleveland defense has surrendered in the fourth quarters of games this season.
That probably won't be an issue this time around, and that won't be a good thing for the Browns.
Cleveland Browns at New York Jets preview: Attitude
Quarterback Jason Campbell had this to say when speaking to reporters earlier this week about Cleveland's loss to Chicago: " The New England (Patriots) game (in which Cleveland blew a lead late in the fourth quarter) -- did it take a lot out of us as a team and individually? Honestly, yes. It did because guys left so much on the field and when you feel like the game is kind of taken or the game ended the way that it did, it just didn't feel right, it didn't sit right and emotionally it changes your whole output going into next week's game."
Those who are part of a winning team put such a defeat, as painful as it may be, out of mind and quickly. The New York Giants did it back in 2007 when they left it all out on the field and yet still fell short against the then undefeated Patriots. The New Orleans Saints have done it on several occasions this season.
Campbell, with his comments, unintentionally provided a glimpse of the losing culture that has infected the locker room of the Browns. Those players are emotionally battered, especially the ones who have been in Cleveland since 2008 and have never experienced a winning season. Team morale is low, and that isn't changing over the next two weekends.
Cleveland Browns at New York Jets preview: Prediction
New York is your average NFL team: The Jets have but a single away victory this season, but they've gone 5-2 at MetLife Stadium as they prepare for their final home game of the campaign. Rookie QB Geno Smith has earned himself a fair amount of criticism. He alone, however, isn't the reason New York is under .500.
Cleveland, meanwhile, is in a downward spiral. Along with Haden, tight end Jordan Cameron (concussion) is also expected to be sidelined. That means that a New York defense that has overachieved in 2013 can focus all of its efforts on stopping WR Josh Gordon.
There's nothing about this game that I like from the vantage point of the Browns. Some fans who are already looking toward the 2014 NFL Draft are hoping that the team will tank the final two games. I'll say it straight: Cleveland might not have to try all that hard in order to finish at 4-12.
Jets win 31-13
Zac has been following Cleveland sports since a little before his birth, and thus his heart breaks a little more with every year. He has been covering the Cleveland Browns, New York Giants and the NFL for Yahoo Sports since 2010.
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