Expectations can define a season. A team that’s supposed to be playoff-caliber that enters the bye with a record below .500 is disappointed. But a team that’s not supposed to win much, that hasn’t won much and that enters a Week 9 bye week one game below .500 is upbeat.
Especially when said team has started three different quarterbacks, lacks a run game and traded its starting running back. Oh -- and lost its first two games. These are your Cleveland Browns, a team that by all convention and logic should be nowhere near 4-5.
But the Browns pieced together four wins in seven games after their losses to start the season, and played one of its most complete games in beating Baltimore on Sunday. Jason Campbell was never expected to be a lifeboat, but he’s played that way for two games. And with a division game against first-place Cincinnati right out of the bye, the Browns have a chance to actually be competitive in the AFC North for the first time in a long time.
This adds up to a better-than-expected start that gives the Browns (remember the expectations) a sold B in the first half.