Unless your iPhone has been stuck in an endless iOS 7 update loop or you live under a rock, you’ve heard by now that the Cleveland Browns traded their best player, running back Trent Richardson, to the Indianapolis Colts for a first-round draft pick.

This sent reverberations through the league. First, it was how it legitimized the Colts offense. Andrew Luck is a stud and a rising star, but the Colts running game has been suspect. Coupled with the recent season-ending injury to running back Vick Ballard, their running game was in serious trouble. So, they traded for Richardson. Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton loves a power running game, which he showcased while coordinating Stanford University’s offense. Richardson fits this mold perfectly.

After the positive glow of the Colts wore off, the fallout was basically how the Cleveland Browns have punted on their season. They have no real play makers left on offense. It could be a long and ugly season in Cleveland. No matter how the management spins it, they are clearly playing for the 2014 season. They probably will have the worst record, which will secure them the first pick in the draft. Their rebuilding starts in 2014.

The Packers will host the Browns on October 20th. On paper, this should be an easy game. The Packers are explosive, their defense is improving, and Cleveland has no offensive firepower. In theory, the Packers should bury the Browns well before halftime.

But, in the words of Lee Corso, “Not so fast, my friend!”

It is professional football, and anyone can win on any given Sunday. That’s so cliche, but it’s true.

Plus, the Packers do have a history of major letdown games. For some reason beyond my comprehension, the Packers have shown a history of playing down to lower competition in games they should obliterate the other team.

During the 1997 march to the Super Bowl, the 13-3 Packers lost the lowly 3-13 Colts. Yes, that was a Lindy Infante Colts team.

During the 2010 march to the Super Bowl, the World Champion Packers lost to the lowly Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins in back-to-back weeks.

Most recently, during the 15-1 campaign of 2011, the Packers only blemish was to the 7-9 Kansas City Chiefs. Romeo Crennel somehow figured out a way to beat the high-octane Packers.

Ugh.

So, don’t bet the farm and think the game against the Browns this October will be automatic. It will still be a very fun atmosphere, I’m sure. Fans will start tailgating at sunrise and there will be parties everywhere. Lambeau will be electric as always because we have the best fans on the planet.

But, Mike McCarthy has to coach the team hard that week to avoid a letdown. It’s a game they should win, and they must win it because the NFC playoff picture will be very crowded this year. It’s essential that McCarthy has his team flying out of the gate with their foot heavy on the gas. Then, if they can build a healthy lead, they can pull the starters and come out healthy.

That’s a lot of “what ifs.”

But, I’m optimistic this 2013 team is different.

 

 

 

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