Odell Beckham Jr. grew up watching Tom Brady play football in the NFL. For as long as he can remember, the New England Patriots have been the team to beat.
His team, the one he said he wants to one day become like the Patriots, travels to New England this weekend to face that same team. New England is 7-0, has won its first seven games by a staggering 175 combined points (the next closest team, the San Francisco 49ers, own a differential of plus-92) for an average margin of victory of 25, is allowing less than a touchdown and extra point per game (6.9 points per game) and leads the NFL in interceptions with 18. The next closest team in that last category is Carolina, with nine interceptions.
The Patriots own the league's No. 1 defense in both yards and points allowed, and the league's No. 1 scoring offense.
As Freddie Kitchens said Wednesday, this is a "tremendous challenge" for these Browns.
"You said something about the numbers are staggering," Kitchens said Wednesday. "To me, they are more than staggering. This is a record-breaking pace that they are on and a pace that I do not know will ever be matched. Listen, they are tremendous in all areas."
For the 19th straight season, the Patriots are quarterbacked by future Hall of Famer Tom Brady. He's considered to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest of all time, and all six of his rings serve as the physical representation of what every quarterback aspires to become: a champion.
Not just a champion, but a champion that won't go away. The adversary who is left to perish, but repeatedly returns stronger than ever.
"Tom Brady is the G.O.A.T., and I know we've done some goat cloning, so I think there's something going on," Beckham said. "He's not human to be playing the way he's still playing, mentally prepared every single game, decisive decisions, knows how to manage a game. Plays offense and defense with the way that he plays. He's just very smart. He's the best to ever do it, I don't think anybody could really argue it. He's the greatest. I definitely want some of the water that he's drinking. That's who everyone, I know for me as well, we all are inspired to be like him."
Brady is also coached by one of the greatest, if not the greatest coaches of all time in Bill Belichick.
The coach is a master of scheme, strategy and secrecy. His bland, insight-barren press conferences have become part of his brand — about which he likely could not care less — as have his defenses that seemingly take on a new appearance with each week, yet consistently find success no matter the opponent.
Need help stopping a record-setting offense in the Super Bowl? Belichick did it in Super Bowl LI, watching Atlanta rack up 28 points before his defense locked down, forced overtime and came away with a 34-28 win. He did it again from start to finish last season, limiting another high-powered offense in the Los Angeles Rams to just three points in Super Bowl LIII. And he even did it way back in his first Super Bowl appearance with Brady under center, in Super Bowl XXXVI, holding the "Greatest Show on Turf" St. Louis Rams to 17 points.
"I have a love-hate relationship for him, because they beat any and every team I ever wanted to win a Super Bowl," Beckham said. "The team I was watching as a kid, loved them, and then they beat them. I was always rooting for him because I loved to see him succeed but I always wanted someone to take them.
"Going against Bill Belichick, this is somebody who I have much respect for. Probably talk to him before and after the game. He tells me the same thing every time, he's like: 'I hope you enjoy today because there's not going to be much for you.' That's what he's told me and that's what he does every single time. It's just tough. He's going to coach it up and they're going to be ready and prepared."
Eagle-eyed, elephant-brained Twitter users have pointed out Wednesday that this is Belichick's M.O., speaking pleasantly with opposing No. 1 receivers about how they won't find success against his defense. He said something similar to former Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Johnson, which was captured by cameras back in 2009.
That was the preseason, though. This is Week 8.
In his lone regular-season meeting with Belichick's Patriots in 2015, Beckham finished with a healthy stat line of four catches for 104 yards and a touchdown. But the game produced a 27-26 loss, pushed the undefeated Patriots to 9-0 and brought the Giants to 5-5 through 10 weeks. And 87 of Beckham's yards came on one touchdown reception, which opened the game's scoring. He caught three of his remaining 11 targets.
Consider Belichick's mission accomplished.
If that happens Sunday, it'll at least provide the Browns with one offensive touchdown against the Patriots. That would match the most they've allowed against an opponent in a game all season. If it comes early, the chances are Cleveland could set the new high for the Patriots, perhaps in a winning effort.
Regardless, the Browns aren't thinking that far ahead. They're just getting ready for a team that will undoubtedly be ready for them.
"I expect them to do what they do, to be honest," Beckham said. "Whatever their plan is is going to be a detailed, thorough plan."