The Browns’ 2022 season is off to a head-scratching start with reasons for optimism and pessimism.
At the time of this writing, the Browns are sitting at 2-3 and tied for second in the AFC North. Cleveland has lost by a combined six points in its three losses. If you would have told Browns fans this was the outcome at this point, the offense surely would’ve been to blame. The defense, however, is tied for the sixth-most yards per play allowed, tied for the third-fewest turnovers with 4, and is at the bottom half of the league in both sacks and pressure rate.
With the Ravens and Bengals suffering from inconsistent play and the Steelers stuck in the divisional basement, could the Browns be in a position to make some postseason noise?
Here are the four most important games following the Browns’ Week 9 bye to determine the fate of Cleveland’s 2022 season.
Top 5 Most Important Games After Week 9
Week 10: at Miami Dolphins
The first game following Cleveland’s bye week will be crucial to the overall win-loss record. Sure, it’ll be a strong test for the secondary going up against the speedy receiver duo of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, but this game is important because of the two following matchups.
After Miami, Cleveland has a Week 11 road trip to Buffalo and a home matchup with Tampa Bay in Week 12. Both teams are currently among Super Bowl 57 betting favorites and will be the toughest teams the Browns will have faced up to that point.
The team simply cannot come out of the bye and go 0-3 if there is any hope of winning the division and beyond.
Week 13: at Houston Texans
This is here for obvious reasons. Week 13 represents the first game Deshaun Watson will be with the team following his suspension and it just so happens to line up with a road trip to Houston.
This is a game Cleveland will certainly be favored in and should come away with a victory, but it’ll be interesting to see how Watson plays in his first game action since Jan. 3, 2021. With the Browns’ remaining schedule following Week 13, it would make for less pressure internally and externally if Watson is able to play well.
Week 14: at Cincinnati Bengals
In his first taste of AFC North football, Watson and the Browns will hit the road to face off versus the Super Bowl 56 runner-ups at Paul Br…I mean, Paycor Stadium. Although the Bengals’ offense has yet to hit its stride, if the Browns’ defense doesn’t turn it around between now and then, it could be a long day for a passing defense that is currently allowing 12.3 yards per completion, a mark tied for the fifth-highest in the league.
Week 15: versus Baltimore Ravens
In the six games Watson will be available for Cleveland, the matchup versus Baltimore will be just one of two home games for the Browns. Despite the Ravens spending heavy free agent money and a top 14 draft pick on the defensive side of the ball, specifically in the passing game. Will Watson, Amari Cooper, and David Njoku be able to take advantage of an underperforming secondary?
Cleveland’s Betting Odds to Win the AFC North and Make the Playoffs
Although not currently available, sports betting in Ohio is right around the corner. In fact, the Browns have an away game against the Washington Commanders on the universal launch date of Jan. 1, 2023. Depending on how the Browns are doing at that point of the season, there could be even more excitement for the launch of online and retail sportsbooks across the Buckeye State.
Here are the Browns’ odds to win the division as well as make the playoffs heading into Week 6.
Cleveland Browns AFC North Odds
Here is how DraftKings Sportsbook views the AFC North division race:
|Team||DraftKings AFC North Odds|
The Ravens are the division favorites at the time of this writing, with the Bengals and Browns next up and the Steelers well behind on the heels of a 1-4 start.
Cleveland Browns Odds to Make the Playoffs
At the time of this writing, the Browns are sitting at +230 to make the playoffs, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. This means if you placed a $100 wager at these odds, you would win a total of $330 ($100 wager + $230 in winnings) if Cleveland did indeed make it to the postseason.
For reference, the shortest 2022 NFL playoff odds reside with the Philadelphia Eagles at -4500. The Houston Texans have the longest playoff odds at +1850.
We can also take Cleveland’s playoff odds and convert them to an implied probability. At +230 odds, that comes out to a 30.3% implied probability. Not too shabby for a team being led by a career backup at quarterback and a struggling defense.
Beginning in January 2022, Ohio sports fans and sports bettors will legally be able to bet on the Brown. Most major US sportsbooks will have odds on the Browns and other Ohio team. Most sportsbooks will offer bonus offers for new bettors. Look for these new offers, like the BetMGM Ohio bonus code for ongoing bet boosts.