There are a few streaks regarding the Broncos that I always keep in mind. The proudest ones, of course, regard shutouts: the Broncos have never been shut out at home, and haven’t been shut out period since 1992, by far the longest active streak. For a while, I had also observed that the Broncos had never lost to the Cardinals–until 2010 (Josh McDaniels, you are not missed).
But for this week, it’s all about the Broncos’ historical dominance over the Browns.
We all know of how emotionally charged The Drive, The Fumble, and The AFCCG That Needs A Name were for all parties involved. You’ve probably also heard this week that the Broncos have a 22-5 all time record over the Browns, and that you have to go all the way back to 1990 to find the last time the Browns emerged victorious. It’s that last streak that I want to explore a bit further.
Earlier this week, I crunched out some numbers regarding winning streaks among teams in the same conference, but different divisions. (Division rivals obviously play too frequently, and interconference opponents too rarely, to make an easy comparison there.) As far as I can tell, no such winning streak is longer in duration than the Broncos over the Browns. The next closest one that I could find is that the Lions haven’t beaten the 49ers since 1995 (Detroit will get a chance to end that in Week 16). And as far as actual games go, the Broncos have won ten in a row over the Browns, while the 49ers have nine in a row over the Lions.
The only other streaks against such opponents that date back to the 20th century are the following: the Jets haven’t beaten the Ravens since 1997, the Bills haven’t beaten the Steelers since 1999, and the Jaguars have never beaten the Patriots in the regular season–but the Jags did get the Pats in the playoffs in 1998.
Now, next Sunday won’t be a cakewalk for the Broncos: they’re playing at Cleveland in the early time slot, and the Browns aren’t completely bereft of talent, even if Joe Haden is held out due to a concussion. But should the Broncos extend this record to 23-5 and 11 straight, I’ll be reminded of an infamous quote Art Modell once uttered at the time of the merger: “The Denver Broncos will never play in Cleveland Stadium“. What’s that old saying about karma, Art?