If the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns didn't have bad luck, they wouldn't have any at all-or so the saying goes.
Other than the draft, professional football isn't the sort of environment that is going to do losing teams any favors. Bad luck seems to be the only guarantee that perennially struggling teams are afforded.
Unfortunately for fans sporting orange and brown, and red, white and blue, misfortune is already starting to pile up and we are still months away from the start of the season.
Despite the fact that both teams once again failed to make the playoffs and finish with winning records, things had been looking up recently for both the Bills and the Browns.
After finishing last season at 4-12, Cleveland looked poised to enter 2014 with a solid defensive base and a much-needed injection of excitement from the draft.
After picking up Johnny Manziel late in the first round, the Browns were finally back in the headlines and back on their way to being relevant.
The Bills have taken a similar ride over the last 12 months, ending their season at 6-10 following a rash of injuries at quarterback but making positive strides with their high draft picks.
Among the players who made huge impacts in 2013 were Buffalo linebacker Kiko Alonso and Browns' receiver Josh Gordon.
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Alonso finished third in the NFL in tackles with 159 and looked to be the key piece of the Bills' new defensive scheme under Doug Marrone.
Gordon, on the other hand, stunned football fans last season by leading the league in receiving yards (1,646) without the benefit of consistent quarterback play.
Alonso and Gordon looked like a pair of franchise leaders who would help bring their struggling teams back into the limelight, but now both of their playing futures are in jeopardy.
Last week, the Bills confirmed that Alonso had suffered a torn ACL while training in Oregon, which will likely cause him to miss the entire 2014 season.
In an equally cruel twist of fate, Gordon added to his recent history of legal trouble by being charged with DWI in North Carolina on July 7, likely ending his upcoming season.
Right now it is hard to imagine a scenario in which Alonso or Gordon will spend any time on the field this year, much to the chagrin of fans in Buffalo in Cleveland.
For far too long Browns and Bills fans have had to ask themselves "Why us? Why can we not catch a break?"
Now it looks like those questions will plague another season - or will they?
Despite the key losses to both teams, the Bills and the Browns still hold the keys to their own fate.
Cleveland selected Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert with the eighth overall pick, and is hoping that the agile young corner will complement star Joe Hayden to improve what was already the eighth best passing defense in the league last year.
While the Browns are still saying that the quarterback job belongs to Brian Hoyer, it is hard to imagine not seeing Johnny Football take the field in his first year unless Cleveland gets out to a really hot start with Hoyer.
While the loss of Gordon puts a big dent in their receiving corps, the Browns were lucky enough to have two offensive standouts last season-the other being tight end Jordan Cameron.
The Browns also claimed running back Ben Tate in free agency to complement their stout defense.
The Bills will now enter the season in a similar spot, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
Like the Browns, the Bills have a sound pass defense and spent much of the offseason looking towards adding run stoppers.
That challenge will be more difficult now that Alonso is gone, but the addition of veteran linebackers Brandon Spikes and Keith Rivers, along with rookies Randell Johnson and Preston Brown, should help to fill the hole.
What this season will ultimately come down to for the Bills is EJ Manuel and Sammy Watkins. The front office believes that Manuel is the right choice at quarterback and that Watkins can be a top-10 receiver, but those remain beliefs and not facts.
Like the Browns, the Bills' season could very well come down to how their young players are able to perform in big moments.
Winning teams make their own luck, and that is what Buffalo and Cleveland will have to do if they want to play more than 16 games.