Raiders and Browns Suddenly Unstoppable

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The Raiders and Browns are two of the hottest teams in football this December.

    A recent New York Times profile on the league-wide December fail of elite NFL teams notes that coaches are most concerned with how their teams play late in the season, not early in the season. "The N.F.L. maxim is, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” Judy Battista notes in the times.

    By that measure, today's Raiders-Browns game is a real clash of the titans.

    No joke. These two doormat teams are playing some of the best football in the NFL right now. Between them, the Raiders and Browns are a combined 4-2 in December. That's as good or better a December 2009 winning percentage than any team in the NFL, except Philadelphia, New Orleans and Indianapolis.

    But both teams are down a starting quarterback, and will start a second or third-stringer. The Raiders, as you well know, are sticking with ex-Brown Charlie Frye. The Browns will start backup Derek Anderson, as Brady Quinn is hobbled with a broken foot.

    Ironically, Frye and Anderson competed with one another throughout the Browns' 2007 training camp for the starting job.

    And now, they're battling for the pride of being the best lousy NFL team to dominate the month of December.

    Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who no one wants to play against right now.