ALLEN PARK — If you listen to the Lions talk about the Cleveland Browns, you’d swear the Browns were a decent team, one that had actually won a game.
Instead, they are an ugly 0-8 heading into Sunday’s game against the Lions (4-4) at Ford Field.
Coach Jim Caldwell has his players believing in the concept of focusing on one game at a time. And from all indications, they do.
Still, they know the Browns haven’t figured out how to win a game halfway through the season and that’s after going 1-15 in 2016.
Cleveland would be the laughingstock of the NFL but the San Francisco 49ers are also winless at 0-9 and the N.Y. Giants are right behind at 1-7.
“I mean if you put the tape on, these guys jump off the screen to you, especially on the defensive side of the ball. They stop the run about as good as anybody in the NFL. They’ve got young, really talented guys in the secondary, some guys that are extremely talented,’’ quarterback Matthew Stafford said. “I mean they got a bunch of first and second-round picks. Guys that have obvious talent, have obvious skill. It jumps off the screen. So, from an offensive standpoint, what we look at is their defense, and you can definitely tell they’ve got a bunch of really nice, talented pieces.”
The Browns rank 31st in the NFL in points per game at 14.9 and 27th in overall offense. Their defense is better, ranked ninth allowing 313.5 yards per game.
Wide receiver Golden Tate says it’s easy to not pay attention to the 0-8 Brown’s record.
“It’s never about who we’re playing it’s always about us, what type of practice are we going to have, are we going to do our assignments correctly? if we do that it doesn’t matter who you’re playing our emotions are going to be pretty even,’’ Tate said. “… We’re not going to get caught up in what players they have, what type of production they have, their record or anything. We’re going to play Detroit Lions football back at home and we shouldn’t need to pump up or do anything other than what we’ve been doing.’’
The Lions are 1-3 at home though. They have not won at Ford Field since the opening win over the Cardinals on Sept. 10.
“Details, us doing the small things correctly I think that 1-3 record could be 4-0 if we do the small things wright. If we get 2, 3, 4, 5 plays back I think that story is a little different,’’ Tate said. “We understand that so we’re going to keep building.’’
(Photo: Golden Tate shows off new shirt depicting the Lions’ touchdown celebration on Monday night)