A trip to Detroit might be the best medicine for the ailing Browns.
Then again, the game against the Lions might provide more reasons for Browns owner Randy Lerner to make a coaching change.
The Lions, like the Browns, have a 1-8 record. They're coming off the first winless season since the 1977 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They're bad (not in Michael Jackson's use of the word), which should give the Browns reason for hope Sunday at Ford Field.
"This is the NFL," Browns quarterback Brady Quinn said. "Everyone is on a competitive level. Obviously, every team has talent. Every team has guys that are good players. We're focusing on ourselves this week. We're working to improve and to be more consistent."
The schedule hasn't exactly been favorable to the Browns. Six of the their opponents to date are legitimate playoff teams the Vikings, Broncos, Ravens (twice), Bengals, Steelers and Packers. They still have one more game against the Bengals and Steelers and a game against the improving Chargers, but the rest of the schedule is as favorable as it can be for a team as bad as the Browns.
Following a three-game stretch against the Bengals, Chargers and Steelers, the Browns finish with a road game against the Chiefs and home games against the Raiders and Jaguars. While the schedule might look easier on paper, try telling that to embattled coach Eric Mangini.
"I feel that there are a lot of things each week that you can look at and get a sense of your level of improvement," Mangini. "I thought against the Ravens that the defense played significantly better than we did in the first game (against them)."
No matter how much Mangini doesn't want to view Sunday's game in Detroit as a measuring stick, that's exactly what it is. If the Browns lose (not many people think they will win), the score better not be lopsided.
For that not to happen, the offense needs to find a way to get the ball into the end zone. You'd think that wouldn't be difficult against the 31st rated defense in the NFL (only the Browns are worse).
The Browns have produced just five touchdowns in the last 15 games dating back to last season, which is the worst such stretch in the NFL since the Bucs produced seven touchdowns during a stretch from 1976-77. The offense has scored 78 points, which puts it on pace to score the fewest points in team history (the 2000 team scored 161 points).
There doesn't appear to be much that Mangini can do to reverse the trend in the short term, unless the line suddenly blocks better, the receivers get open and a quarterback can be found that can deliver the ball on stride.
The passing attack is averaging a mere 8.6 yards per completion. The average against the Ravens last Monday was 2.1 yards.
"Part of the game plan was short, quick throws and try to get the ball out of your hand quick because they had a good pass rush," Quinn said. "We saw on film that some other teams had success doing that, so we tried to emulate that."
Mangini summed up the offensive problems by saying it's a matter of too many turnovers.
"Most important is to not have the turnovers," he said. "Nothing affects outcomes more than giveaway-takeaway ratio. There have been a number of times when we've been on the negative side of that."
It's more than just turnovers that is short-circuiting the offense.