It's an unfortunate tale of two NFL franchises falling behind the times, both with plenty of history to fall back on. The San Francisco 49ers and the Cleveland Browns are winless this season and are staring down the barrel of ending the 2017 season without a victory.
San Francisco's had a fall from grace dating back to 2014. The only team they've beaten in recent memory's the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams. In fact, their last non-Rams victory was on December 6, 2015 in overtime against the Chicago Bears. Their fall has been in part to ownership scaring away Jim Harbaugh as the head coach and letting quality talent walk.
Cleveland's misery has been documented for a long time. Their last win on a Sunday was ironically against the Niners on December 13, 2015. They barely walked out of 2016 with a win, beating the San Diego Chargers on Christmas Eve. The Browns as a whole haven't been good, with their last playoff appearance coming in 2002 during a pedestrian 9-7 campaign.
Cleveland has a strategy going on right now, focusing on developing talent, especially on the defensive side. However, they botched a trade for A.J. McCarron, which showed the traditional side of the Browns organization. San Francisco is trying the same philosophy, only without the Moneyball aspect. They're hoping to cash in on Kirk Cousins next season if he becomes available as they hope to take the next step back into relevance.
Is it possible for BOTH the Niners and the Browns to go without a win this season? It's entirely possible. There's always the last game of the season in which teams are usually resting starters or the back-ups auditioning for a future role on the team. As for the Browns schedule, theirs is more difficult. Their only winnable games are a December 10 date at home against the Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay Packers and a Christmas Eve road date in Chicago. Three of San Francisco's next four games are winnable. Houston doesn't having either Deshaun Watson nor J.J. Watt, the New York Giants stink this year, and the Bears are, well, the Bears.
Unfortunately for both of these teams, only one can get the No. 1 pick in the next NFL Draft. All the tanking that both of these teams are doing will be for naught if either one doesn't get the No. 1 pick. Granted, having the first pick in any draft isn't a shoo-in for a successful franchise player. Just ask the late-90's San Diego Chargers. But let's just hope that both of these teams can turn around their fortunes quickly.
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