Division: AFC North
The Browns when into full rebuild mode in 2016 which led to a 1-15 record and a really rough season for Browns fans. The sole win coming against the Chargers prevented the looming 0-16 parade that was planned in Cleveland. Even though it felt like everything was falling apart, the team never gave up and there were signs of hope. The front office set this team up for tanking but the players and coaches were not. RG3 went down week 1, McCown went down week 2, Kessler and Clipboard Jesus week 5 with Pryor taking snaps at QB week 5 and finally Kevin Hogan getting a few snaps week 7 (Kessler would get hurt again).
Some fun rankings for this season should really drive home the Browns season. On offense: 16.6 ppg (30th), 311 ypg (31st), 204 pass ypg (28th), 107 rush ypg (19th), and 66 sacks which is first by a long shot. On Defense: 392 ypg (31st), 28 ppg (30th), 142 rushing ypg (30th), 250 pass ypg (21st).
The Browns also had the rookies play 4300 snaps with the second closest team being the Colts at 3300. That is a huge gap and really shows how inexperienced of a team the Browns were. 4 rookies were injured throughout the season and 1 was suspended for testing positive for PEDs. Through it all though there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Those 4300 snaps will turn into second year players, they had 10 picks including 4 in the first 2 rounds in 2017 and a great trade of bringing Jaimie Collins in. The young vets on this team started to step up and are now poised to lead a young but athletic team into the 2017 season
January 8, 2017: Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams is hired on to replace Ray Horton
January 9, 2017: Pep Hamilton leaves the Browns to join Jim Harbaugh at University of Michicgan
On January 10, the Browns fired five assistant coaches: offensive line coach Hal Hunter, inside linebackers coach Johnny Holland, outside linebackers coach Ryan Slowik, defensive backs coach Louie Cioffi, and assistant defensive backs coach Cannon Matthews.
On January 13, the Browns hired DeWayne Walker as defensive backs coach. A day later, they hired Blake Williams as linebackers coach, Jerod Kruse as assistant defensive backs coach, and Bob Wylie as offensive line coach.
On January 17, the Browns fired defensive line coach Robert Nunn and hired Clyde Simmons as his replacement.
On February 8, the Browns hired former Buffalo Bills assistant David Lee as their quarterbacks coach.
Most were expecting the Browns to retain most of their coaches especially after the overhaul in 2016 but a lot of these changes needed to be made. The Browns were running a 34 base package with 43 type players. Ogbah didn't really break out till the second half of the season when they put his hand in the dirt. The Browns defense was a mess and needed the change. Enter Gregg Williams
Gregg Williams is a sore subject for a lot of NFL fans and I want to start off by saying that I do not condone what he has done but I do need to talk about him because he is an important hire. He brings a pedigree of turning defenses around and he is very fiery guy. His personality is similar to Hue's which is a no nonsense type of guy who puts players in the best position to succeed. With a DC change comes a lot of changes to the assistants.
The OL was a mess last year even with Joe Thomas holding down the LT position. Bob Wylie worked with Hue in Oakland and brings 30 years of experience. Hue bit off more than he could chew with so many young players on the team and he needs to find a QB. In comes David Lee to help relieve some of that pressure.
Robert Griffin III|QB|FA
Josh McCown|QB|New York Jets
Andrew Hawkins|WR|New England
Demario Davis|LB|Traded to Jets
Terrelle Pryor WR
This most productive offensive player on the team this past year and was the fiery personality needed on the offense. Sadly the Browns and Pryor could not agree on a contract with Pryor taking less money to go to Washington. Britt helps make up for some of what is lost but the young receivers are going to have to step up. This is a tough situation because the news coming out of this situation made it sound like the Browns were undervaluing him and Pryor’s agents were overvaluing him.
Gary Barnidge TE
While he had a down year in 2016 he was an all around good guy to have on the team. He was liked by everyone and helped lead the team. After drafting Njoku the writing was on the wall. I think this was a good move. After drafting Njoku the Browns will need a TE on the roster who can be an inline blocker for jumbo packages which Barnidge is not.
He was the starter going into the season and to end the season but it was time to part ways. The RG3 experiment failed miserably and it was time to find new quarterbacks
He gave it his all and was a great leader and mentor but the position was getting crowded and durability was an issue for him. He also had a significant dip in production last year and that roster spot will be needed. Many will argue that he should be on the roster for a mentor type role but that is what a QB coach is for.
Kenny Britt|WR|LA Rams|4 years|$32.5MM|Signed
Brock Osweiler|QB|Houston|4 years|$72MM|Trade
Kevin Zeitler|RG|Cincinnati|5 years|$60MM|Signed
JC Tretter|C|Green Bay|3 years|$16.75MM|Signed
Jason McCourty|Tennessee|CB|2 years|$6MM|Signed
Jamie Collins|LB|Cleveland|4 years|$50MM|Resigned
Christian Kirksey|LB|Cleveland|4 years|$38MM|Extended
Joel Bitonio|LG|Cleveland|6 years|$51MM|Extended
Jamar Taylor|CB|Cleveland|3 years|$16.5MM|Resigned
Calvin Pryor|S|Jets|1 year|$1.5MM|Trade
Kevin Zeitler RG
This was a big free agent addition. His relationship with Hue really helped seal the deal. He is a top 10 guard in the league and brings a vet presence that can create an environment for a young QB to grow.
JC Tretter C
This will probably be the biggest positive impact to the offensive line. Erving was close to if not the worst center in the league last year. Tretter comes in as a mid to potential top 15 center and really stabilizes this offensive line.
Kenny Britt WR
After losing Hawkins and Pryor the Browns needed a vet to bring in. He hasn't been the most productive receiver but he is reliable and had his first 1000 yard season this past year. He is a bigger receiver and will be really able to help give options to the quarterbacks.
Cleveland received Brock Osweiler, 2018 2nd round pick and a 2017 6th while giving up a 2017 4th to Houston.
This trade was purely for Houston to unload Osweiler's contract. This is a win win trade for both teams. Cleveland has the cap space and gets a quarterback who was considered a franchise quarterback 2 years ago. He will add competition to that position. The Browns also get a 2nd round pick which puts them up to 5 picks in the top 65 in the 2018 draft.
Cleveland trades Demario Davis (LB) to the New York Jets for Calvin Pryor (S)
Calvin Pryor adds another safety to a depleted position. Pairing him with Peppers in the Nickel could be a deadly combo. Pryor struggled in coverage at times but is a hard hitting safety. He will improve the secondary but he won't change what could be another bad season for the secondary.
Joel Bitonio LG
Joel and Joe have held down the left side of the line for 4 years now. Joel has been a top guard in the league but has been injured in almost every season. He is coming off of a lisfranc surgery but should be ready to go by the preseason. This is an excellent extension and one of the few bright spots in past drafts.
Christian Kirksey LB
Kirko isn’t well known throughout the league but he had an excellent year at the linebacker position. He was able to generate a lot of pressure in the passing game and was a tackling machine. Him and Joel Bitonio are what the Browns are hoping to see more of from drafted players. Pairing Kirko with the next person on this list will be exciting football.
Jaimie Collins LB
I cannot speak for the Patriots but this is turning out to be an amazing trade for the Browns. Jaimie really seems to be growing into his own and as a leader. This team was the perfect place for him and he has expressed it especially to other free agents. Gregg Williams has noticed that his personality is starting to show and once he starts talking he doesn’t stop. OTAs have shown his versatility as well. In one sequence he had a sack, patted pass and a pick six. He brings an excitement to this team and the players. Where Kirko is more of the silent productive player, Collins is the fiery, playmaking type player.
Jamar Taylor CB
This is a redemption story. He wasn’t working out in Miami and while I don’t know what the Browns saw they brought him in and he thrived. Taylor,lead the Browns with three interceptions, 13 passes broken up and 57 tackles. Hopefully he can keep taking steps in the right direction. With a healthy Haden, this secondary might start taking shape.
Now onto my favorite part of the off-season. This was an exciting draft for the Browns and will play a huge part on the direction of this team and there a lot of things to like about this draft. Lets jump right in!
1.1: Myles Garrett DE Texas A&M
The right pick. Sashi Brown knew who they were taking 2 weeks before the draft and everyone in the organization was on board despite reports. The Browns had trouble getting after the QB so why not take one of the best edge rushing prospects since Clowney. These type of prospects do not come by often and he checks 99% of the boxes.
1.25: Jabrill Peppers S University of Michigan
(Traded down from 12 with HOU and receives 1.25 and 2018 1st)
Many thought the Browns would take a QB here but I don't think that was ever an option. Hue liked Hooker a lot and if Houston didn't offer what they did he would be in a Browns uniform. In comes Peppers. Many didn't know exactly where he would fit going into the draft but per Williams he will be playing middle of the field mostly. He is an excellent return guy, athletic and a high football IQ. While the Browns secondary was horrendous in 2016 and Peppers improves that but his coverage ability is in question. He is the perfect type of player for Gregg Williams to mold and his returning abilities really makes him a solid pick.
1.29: David Njoku TE University of Miami
Arguably the 2nd to best TE in the draft class and the best receiving TE in this class. Only being 20 years old, David is a mismatch nightmare and will continue that in the NFL. His blocking is lacking because he was never really asked to but he is a playmaker and a vertical threat. He adds another athletic receiving TE next to Seth DeValve. Hue is giving his QBs big targets to help this team succeed.
2.52: DeShone Kizer QB Notre Dame
Dropping from the top overall pick to mid-late 2nd round pick in a year perfectly lines up with the type of prospect he is. Big, excellent arm talent, intelligent, quick, elusive and accurate but his inconsistency infuriating. There are plays where he looks like the next Luck type prospect then the next looks like he has never thrown a football. His upside is tremendous so grabbing him here is almost a low risk high upside type pick since he was the 4th pick by the Browns in this draft. 90% of him is what you want in a franchise QB, 10% isn't but that 10% can derail his career if not corrected.
3.65: Larry Ogunjobi DT Charlotte
Going with the overall theme of this draft so far the Browns select another athletic marvel in Larry. He is extremely raw but his athleticism is just amazing. He reminds me of Ogbah but at a different position. The Browns worked with him at the Senior Bowl so whatever happened there really drove home the pick. One question mark is how he will do coming from a small school dominating less talented players to the NFL where his athleticism alone won’t win matchups
4.126: Howard Wilson CB Houston
(Traded up with 2 5th round picks)
I wish this position was addressed sooner but I think Kizer dropping as far as he did changed that. Haden oft injured and the 2 best CBs Taylor and Boddy-Count are not made to cover WR1s. He is an athletic CB who can create turnovers. He is extremely raw and will struggle early while he refines his skills. Sadly he broke his kneecap in rookie mini camp and will be out for an extended time.
5.160: Roderick Johnson OT Florida State University
This pick was a tad of a head scratcher for me. I believe adding another DB (Yes the secondary is that depleted) would have been preferred. He is a project and that is simple. Excellent size and speed for a NFL OT but his footwork is unrefined and not as quick as they need to be. He has little to no technique and his bend is not there. Luckily he will have the time behind Joe Thomas, Shon Coleman and Cam Erving. I think this position could have been addressed in 2018 after the Browns find out what they have in Cam Erving.
6.185: Caleb Brantley DT Florida
I am surprised he dropped this far even with the accusations over his head. He was a late 1st, easy 2nd round talent that was available in the 6th in a position if need even after drafting Larry. This guy can be a monster inside paired with Shelton and next to Garrett. The problem is his motor is questionable at times. There was a lot of tape of him taking off plays but if Williams can fix that he could be starting week 1.
7.224: Zane Gonzalez K Arizona
The best kicker in college football winning the Lou Groza award. He had an amazing career in college with excellent leg strength and accuracy. He will have a tough battle against Cody Parkey who started the season rough but ended strong. This will be one of the more interesting camp battles.
7.252: Matt Dayes, RB NC State
Extremely productive running back in college but is undersized for the NFL. One thing the Browns lack is a true goal line back and I don't think Dayes will fill that role. The amount of production Dayes had in college and his ability to catch the ball can still make him an x factor in this offense and getting that out of a 7th round pick would be an immediate win. Hue also got to work with Dayes at the Senior Bowl.
Other Offseason News That Affected The Team
Compared to most years it has been pretty quiet but that is a good thing. Let’s go through some minor and fun things!
Josh Gordon is still suspended
A radio personality in Cleveland accused Peppers and Joe Thomas of being on the lean and taking Molly. Her job didn't last long after those baseless claims.
Corey Coleman is dealing with a hamstring injury and this is his 3rd injury since entering the league. He should be ready by training camp but people are starting to worry he won't get past the injury bug.
Joe Thomas has become a social media sensation
Projected Starting Lineup
QB: Cody “Goaty” Kessler
I know reports are out about Osweiler gaining ground but I don’t really see him in the picture week 1. The eyes should be on Kizer and if he can keep gaining ground as quick as he is but right now Kessler has the reigns deservedly so. He had a rough rookie year and not just because of problems but the team around him fell apart. He showed enough last year though to deserve a shot. From OTAs it looked like Kessler added zip to the ball which should help his deep ball a bit. He really needs to learn coverages and anticipate windows when stretching a defense. The biggest thing he needs though is confidence and if he can figure that out he can take some big steps forward.
RB: Isaish Crowell
Crow didn’t get enough touches and should have broken 1000 yards. He was running like a top 10 back but just couldn’t get the carries to truly show it. Playing from behind by two or more scores every game really hurts his opportunity. This is a contract year and I am expecting a huge year this year especially with the revamped offensive line. Like Browns fans say “FEED THE CROW”
FB: Danny Vitale
I don’t know why I am so excited about him but I do think he has the talent to be a viable blocker and receiver.
WR1: Corey “CoCo” Coleman
He started off strong last year until he broke his hand. He struggled when he came back but having RG3 and McCown throwing to you isn’t going to help. If he can get past the injury bug then I expect some excellent production from him.
WR2: Kenny Britt
A big body receiver who can stretch the field, Kenny brings a veteran presence to a receiver group who are all second years outside of Britt. His most productive year was last year and I am hoping it carries over into this year.
WR3: Ricardo Louis
This is my breakout player of the year for the Browns. He came into OTAs stronger and faster which is impressive because he was already an athletic receiver. He adds another big body receiver who can use his body to create separation. If his hands have improved I expect him to be a great WR3 to good WR2 in his second year.
TE: David Njoku
The first rookie I put in the starting lineup and deservedly so. This guy is a monster and is only 20 years old! We all know that Kessler’s strength isn’t stretching defenses so the next best thing is to give him a giant target who once he has the ball in his hand can make plays. Hue is known for putting his players in a position to thrive and with Hue’s creativeness, the possibilities are endless with Njoku.
TE: Seth “Smart Gronk” DeValve
The Princeton graduate who is slightly less athletic than Njoku (which is crazy to think about) rounds out the starting offensive weapons. From reports Seth DeValve has come into this offseason as the most improved player from last year. I get all giddy thinking about him pairing up with Njoku in two tight end set.
LT: Joe “The Goat” Thomas
Need I say more?
LG: Joel Bitonio
Has been at that position for 4 years as an excellent LG and with the big payout I expect nothing less this year.
C: JC Tretter
A new addition to this line but a solid one. He had a good year in Green Bay when healthy and is a significant upgrade over Cam Erving. He will help recognize blitzes and disguises for the young quarterbacks.
RG: Kevin Zeitler
Another new addition and very good one at that from a division rival. Zeitler will have a huge impact on this offensive line and will make Crow’s life a lot easier.
RT: Shon Coleman
Second year Shon will have a tough battle in my opinion for this spot with Cam Erving which I will dive into later. Shon had limited snaps last year (67) because of an off season injury that put him behind but showed promise. This will be the weakest spot of the line but hopefully someone steps up. Right now I have to go with Coleman.
WDE: Myles “Sackasaurus” Garrett
1st pick and an athletic marvel. I am excited to see this guy play and hopefully dominate the league.
WDT: Desmond Bryant
The old vet coming off a torn pectoral last year will have the starting spot week 1. How long he holds it will be interesting see but he will bring a vet presence to that front four that s needed. He was primed for a breakout year last year before his injury and I think he will continue that momentum going into the season.
SDT: Danny “Feast Mode” Shelton
Danny went from meh in 2015 to HOLY SHIT in 2016 and it was a fun rollercoaster. He will be the anchor on this defense eating up blockers and collapsing the pocket. His ability to take on blockers opens up lanes for Kirko and Collins to wreak havoc in the back field.
SDE: Emmanuel Ogbah
They started him last season at OLB and he struggled. The second half of the season they put his hand in the dirt and he went off. There was one play where Mariota escaped the pocket and was not expecting Ogbah to catch him. He rounds out a front four who might be making a name for themselves in the future.
SAM: Jaimie Collins
The playmaker of this team. Whatever he is asked to do, he will do it and do it well. He will cover, he will blitz, stop the run, whatever you need he will get it done. He is known for his freelancing and that is exactly what Williams wants him to do.
WILL: Christian “Kirko” Kirksey
Unrelenting and never taking a break. He is the perfect combo for Collins as in they balance eachother out. Kirko in top notch at generating pressure in the passing game and I am hoping he can build off of his great year.
CB1: Joe Haden
I am taking this evaluation from the Athletic (I agree with it) and I would link to the article but it is a subscription. (recommend if for Cleveland fans) The first thing Haden needs to do is stay healthy and last year he needed groin surgery for about half the season. Haden still has the athleticism and instincts to be a very good cornerback but he had some failures in his technique specifically in hip movement and use of hands. A lot of his blown coverages were from either turning his hips too soon or missing the initial hand check and overcompensating for it. If he could correct these technical issues I think he can get back to being a good cornerback. If not, a possible position change to free safety might do him wonders.
CB2: Jamar Taylor
I talked about him earlier but he had a solid year this past season. He isn’t good enough to cover WR1’s in my opinion but is an excellent CB2. Hopefully he keeps taking steps forward.
SS: Jabrill Peppers
The second rookie starting in this defense. Undersized for a linebacker and his coverage skills have some question marks. As in question marks, I mean he didn’t get enough chances to display whether he has the skill or not so please don’t burn me at the stake. He has excellent athleticism, high football IQ and really loves the game. He is the perfect type of DB for Gregg Williams’ defense and hopefully Williams can put him in position to thrive. Peppers can be the general of the defense with his ability to diagnose offensive schemes on the fly and blow up plays in the backfield.
SS: Calvin Pryor
A trade from the Jets and will be a starter week 1. The Browns will run a Nickel because they really do not have a starting caliber MIKE linebacker. He has some ability to cover tight ends which was one of the defenses biggest weaknesses last year and can hit hard. Him and Peppers will make up for the MIKE position in the box.
FS: Ed Reynolds
Had a decent year this past season but needs to show improvement. He isn’t the guaranteed starter but has the lead early. He started to struggle last year when Kindred went down because Reynolds struggles at tackling and without Kindred that weakness showed.
K: Zane Gonzalez
One of the most successful kickers coming out of college and will challenge Parkey for the starting job. Parkey had an excellent year after the abysmal first game against the Dolphins. Gonzalez has a bigger leg and is just as accurate but one worry with Gonzalez is on closer field goals he changes up his kicking motion which could affect him in the NFL.
Signed him to a 6 year contract
Position Group Strengths and Weaknesses
QB: Weakness. There is potential in the position but there isn’t a bonafide starter at this point. Kessler played well last year but still has a lot to prove before saying the Browns are good at QB.
RB: Strength. Crow and Duke are an excellent combo for the Cleveland Browns and will be the top feature in the offense.
WR: Unknown. With CoCo fighting an injury bug we really do not know how this WR corp will shake out.
TE: Strength: DeValve and Njoku are offensive playmakers who will make the QB job a lot easier. This might be the most exciting part of the Browns this season.
OL: Strength. The front office put a lot of money into the line and for good reason. This offensive line could be top 5 when it is all said and done
DL: Weakness: As of right now there is little NFL experience in this group. We have a rookie, 2nd year, 3rd year and a DT coming off a torn pectoral. The depth is just as inexperienced. That said, this DL is the youngest DL in the division by a lot with a lot of athleticism and potential. They might be a weakness now but I expect that to change quickly into one of the strongest positions on the Browns roster.
LB: Strength. Collins and Kirko are excellent linebackers who will be flying around the field
S: weakness, The addition of Peppers and Pryor help but not enough. This secondary will be exploited this year and could be a bottom dweller for another season
CB: Weakness. Question marks around Joe Haden’s health sum up this group. A bunch of question marks.
Training Camp Battles to Watch
QB - Kessler holding off Kizer. I do not think Osweiler truly has a shot at starting. A lot of the stories coming out I think are to up his value in case a team desperately needs a QB. Kessler come into the off season with a stronger arm but Kizer is flashing his potential and early. Kizer made up a lot of ground quicker than almost anyone was thinking. If Kizer can keep taking these big steps forward he could be the starter by week 1.
RT- Coleman versus Erving. Many think Erving doesn’t have a shot and probably should be cut. I disagree for a few reasons. Erving is built like a tackle and not like a center. He is taller than the average center so Erving needed more bend to play center which he just didn’t have. That extra bend slowed down his speed of getting out of his stance. He also has a wider stance than a good center because of his length. In such a small space, this really made him clumsy. Finally he isn’t a bull rusher like you would expect in the middle of the line. I think tackle is his natural position and will be a good challenge for Coleman
The offensive line on paper should be top 5 in the league and at worst top 10. The one question is right tackle where Shon Coleman showed promise in his little time there but so did Cam Erving. I am expecting one to be enough at RT. Hue wants to run the ball and will this year. Crow is in contract year and should have had a 1000 yard season but didn't get the ball enough. I am expecting Crow to emerge as a top 10 running back in this upcoming season. The receiving Corp might have the most question marks with Britt, oft injured CoCo and young unproven receivers behind them. Tight end is the most exciting part of this offense. DeValve and Njoku could emerge as one of the best tight combos in a long time. Kessler has the reigns at this point but Kizer is really heating up the competition.
Lacking a true MIKE linebacker will switch Williams’ defense to a nickel with 2 CBs, 3 S, 2 LB and 4 guys with their hands in the dirt. This will be an extremely aggressive defense with a lot of athleticism at almost every position. The front four will allow Collins to be a freelancer which in my opinion is his best play style. Peppers will hopefully become the general of the defense with his ability to diagnose offenses. I am expected a lot of disguised blitzes with Peppers and Pryor.
Week 1: Pittsburgh Steelers
This is a tough week 1 match even with it being a home game. The Browns very young and growing defense will start the season against one of the best offenses in the NFL. Big Ben should have an easy time picking apart the secondary but I expect early struggles for them in the run game, with Bell picking it up in the second half. Antonio Brown will have a big game to start off the season. The Steelers defensive strength is in their front seven but with the Browns revamped OL, the offense will pair well against the steelers. Crow will have a tough time finding gaps but the receiving mismatches will help Kessler keep the offense on the field but not getting into the endzone. Quick and often strikes down the Browns.
Steelers 31, Browns 20
Week 2: @Baltimore Ravens
The schedule doesn't get any easier for Cleveland. This is a baptism by fire and will be a tough game but closer. The Browns matchup a little better against the Ravens because their offense isn't as high powered as the Steelers. I feel like Wallace always has a good game against the Browns and I don't expect that to change. I think the front 4 will have an easier time holding the line which will allow more DBs in the secondary. The Ravens will move the chains but struggle in the red zone. I can see Haden and Collins each picking off Flacco in the red zone to keep the game close. On offense the Browns will struggle. Whatever the Steelers defense is, the Ravens is better. This will be a big game for CoCo and will see many targets with at least one touchdown. The Browns are in the game but just need more.
Ravens 24, Browns 17
Week 3: @Indianapolis Colts
And now we go into Luck's home. WTF! Garrett and Ogbah will terrorize Luck all game forcing him to make errors. Sadly it is Andrew Luck and he will still score on the Browns secondary. The Browns run game will keep Luck off the field. This will be Crows first 100+ yard game with 3 TDs. Hankins will help in the middle but Zeitler, Tretter and Bitonio will open huge gaps. Kessler won't be relied on as much but will not create a turnover. Luck pulls some 2 minute heroics for the win.
Colts 31, Browns 24
Week 4: Bengals
Here it is. The Bengals come into town and this will be the Browns shot at their first win. Most Browns will be upset with the 0-3 start but those first 3 games are extremely tough for a team trying to gel. The Bengals lost some significant players along the OL and their defense is just another year older. If Joe Haden is healthy he almost always matches well against AJ Green (IDK why). Peppers who has been quiet so far will blow up. He will have a few TFLs, a INT and a forced fumble. Dalton's OL will not help him and Hill will be trying to dodge defenders in the backfield. Williams’ knows the Bengals OL is young and new so he will bring the heat all game. Crow will have another big game but it will be the tight ends who will be the game changers. Njoku and DeValve will feast on the LBs and safeties combining for 150+ yards and 2 TDs. .
Browns 28, Bengals 21
Week 5: New York Jets
Another good matchup for the Browns. The Jets have an excellent front 7 but the Browns have an excellent OL which results in another good performance by the Browns. The front 7 of the Browns will cause problems for the Jets QB forcing turnovers. The secondary will have the easiest matchup so far and will capitalize off of the front seven. Crow will have some tough yards but will have a big run when he bounces outside for a play. CoCo will be the guy who leads the offense this game.
Browns 28, Jets 17
Week 6 @Houston Texans
Away games are never easy and going against a defense as loaded as the Texans doesn't make it any better. I do not know who the QB for the Texans will be by this time of the year or how they are performing but they do have solid weapons around the quarterback. This will be a struggle for the QBs and turnovers will seal the Browns fate.
Texans 17, Browns 10
Week 7: Tennessee Titans
The Browns played this Titans close last year and I can see a similar result. This will probably be the best offensive line the Browns will go against and it will show. The Titans run game will be tough to stop and the Browns inexperience will show along that front line. The Titans will dominate the time of possession and wear the defense down. The offense will have an easier challenge compared to the week before. The Titans secondary is still a work in progress and the TEs will capitalize on that.
Titans 24, Browns 21
Week 8: Vikings (London)
This will be an interesting matchup. The Vikings offense revolves around chipping away at a defense but Browns will be ready defensively. The quick throws will help negate the pass rush but will also shrink the field for the defense. Peppers and Collins have excellent football IQ and Haden thrives in short field situations which will force turnovers. When it comes to the red zone, even with Bradford's experience Haden will get one pick in the end zone. Offense will have a tough time but Crow and the line will step up to the challenge. Crow will have a multi TD day and help lead the Browns to an upset.
Browns 27, Vikings 21
Week 10: @Lions
The Browns enter Detroit 2 back games from .500 but this game will widen that gap. This will be a well fought match but Stafford will take over this games. His throwing talent is one of the best in the NFL and that will show this week. Crow will keep being fed the ball to try and keep Stafford of the field but it just isn't enough.
Lions 28, Browns 20
Week 11: Jacksonville Jaguars
This match is in Cleveland in November so weather can play a big part in this match. The Jags will struggle if the weather is poor going against the Browns front 7. Peppers ability to blitz off the edge and read plays will cause a few TFL. Hard nose football will favor the Browns in this game with Crow running behind the offensive line. It will be a low scoring but exciting game.
Browns 17, Jaguars 10
Week 12: @Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals get their revenge. The Browns will be going against a revitalized offense with an offensive line that has settled in. AJ Green will get the best of the secondary this week putting up an excellent performance. The Browns won't be able to keep up with this offense that is firing on all cylinders.
Bengals 31: Browns 21
Week 13: @Chargers
If The Chargers can stay healthy this could be a blood bath. A combo of Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Melvin Gordon with Rivers at the helm is a scary thought. These 3 will give the Browns defense fits because they will play for one while the Chargers use another. Rivers plays with a fire after the loss in 2016. Bosa and Ingram will have another year together and will be even better cause trouble for the right side of the offensive line.
Chargers 31, Browns 20
Week 14: Green Bay Packers
I am not excited for this game. Aaron Rodgers against a young defense that lacks in the secondary is not a good recipe and it will show. The Browns will create pressure but Rodgers ability to evade will negate that. On offense the Browns will have a good game after sputtering in the passing game for a few weeks but it isn't enough against the Packers.
Packers 35, Browns 31
Week 15: Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens come in with playoff hopes and an offense that is clicking. Flacco won't let the Ravens lose to the Browns twice in a year. The Browns offense will struggle against this defense. This won't be a high scoring game but Flacco will help the Ravens dominate the time of possession.
Ravens 20, Browns 10
Week 16: @Chicago Bears
This could be a very interesting game of rookie QB versus rookie QB. Number 2 pick, Cleveland native Mitch Trubisky versus 2nd round pick DeShone Kizer. Number 1 pick versus number 2 pick. This is the toughest game to pick because I do not know how the Bears will be this year. I do think the Browns are a little ahead on the rebuild aspect and will edge out the Bears.
Browns 28, Bears 24
Week 17: @Pittsburgh Steelers
I have a feeling the Steelers will have playoff aspirations and the Browns will be trying to play the party poopers. Sadly a determined Brown, Bell and Big Ben is too much firepower to keep up with.
Steelers 28, Browns 20
Going 1-15 last year and you would expect a downtrodden team. Well that is not the case both in the fan base and in the locker room. You can feel the excitement coming from the building. I don’t know how Hue did it but he kept this team together through their worst season ever and has them extremely optimistic. There will be fans who will say the classic “this is a Browns fan every year” and those who think they will go .500 this season. To me, there is a happy medium between the two. We finally have a team that looks to have a future and a plan going forward. There is a lot of potential on this team with players who are committed to fixing this organization and making the Browns something to be proud of. That said, potential does not create wins and there will be a lot of growing pains this season. The thing is though, growing pains means you are growing with is a great thing. This team still needs to infuse more talent and that will show late in the season with injuries mounting but I find it hard not to be excited about where this team is going and the future they could have. Hue Jackson was the best coach hire since the Browns came back and you can start to see this front office’s plan and methods. They made a few stumbles in their first year but Sashi Brown truly has this team going in the right direction. The first step for the organization is a culture change and anyone can see that has started in Cleveland.
Special shoutout to the Joe Haden and Joe Thomas for sticking with the Browns through all of this and really setting the mentality that these players can and will turn this organization around.
Submitted July 03, 2017 at 10:58AM by PuppyBowl-XI-MVP
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