The Cleveland Browns weren't atrocious against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night, but true to their form, they found ways to come up agonizingly short against a superior opponent.
Sitting lowly at 0-4, Pat Shurmur's group has been rather competitive in all of its games this season, but he's looking for wins, not tightly contested losses and silver linings.
We most certainly have witnessed teams start less impressively in the past (see: 2008 Detroit Lions and 2011 Indianapolis Colts), but with the lack of premier talent out wide or on defense, and a rookie quarterback and runner in the backfield who've been relatively inconsistent thus far, it's worth wondering—will the Browns win a game this year?
Seems preposterous, right?
Anytime this argument arises it's important to state the age-old adage—"it's harder to lose all 16 games than win all 16 of them."
As crazy as it may seem, it's probably true.
Even if you don't believe it, you can't ignore how truly difficult it is to lose every game on a regular-season schedule in a parity-filled league like the NFL.
Next up for the Browns: A trip to New Jersey to face the reigning Super Bowl Champion Giants—certainly not a favorable matchup for Cleveland.
The Bengals come to town in Week 6, the game when Joe Haden will make a triumphant return to a secondary that dearly needs it. Based on how closely Cleveland played a Bengals team, that's been surprisingly porous on defense to start the year, in Week 2, this at least appears to be a winnable game.
A meeting with Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts provides the Browns with another reasonable chance at victory, and who knows which San Diego Chargers team they'll face at home in Week 8. Another clash with the Ravens takes place before the bye week, and in Week 11, Cleveland travels to Dallas to face a formidable Cowboys club.
Dates with the Raiders, Chiefs, Redskins and Broncos are sandwiched between what should be extremely physical games with the Steelers, the last that ends the season in Pittsburgh on December 30.
For as offensively bland and defensively challenged as the 2012 Browns may be, they simply aren't putrid enough to lose every time out.
Given what we've seen from Cleveland, it's easy to see that a) the Browns will rarely—if ever—be at a perceived personnel advantage, and b) they aren't so bad that they won't be able to squeeze out a few victories in 2012.