Going into Week 8 of the season, however, things have taken dramatically different turns for these two teams.
While the Browns are languishing at .500 and are better than expected in some ways, they clearly still have a long way to go.
The 49ers, by contrast, seem to have gotten it together faster than anyone expected despite having a rookie head coach, a questionable quarterback and what appeared to be a whole lot of weak points entering the season. After seven weeks of play, San Francisco is a surprising 5-1 and sitting atop the NFC West with a very comfortable lead.
As much as it may not have looked that way before the season started, winning this one will be a tough task for the Browns. Very tough.
And yet, while an upset isn't probable, it is possible. The Browns aren't the favorite here, nor should they be. But you know the saying, on any given Sunday...
Following are five ways the 49ers are vulnerable to an upset by the Browns. If Cleveland can take advantage of these, they just might have a shot to surprise San Francisco and get on the right side of .500 at the midpoint of the NFL season.