Cleveland Browns Bold Predictions

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With the NFL season officially under way, it is finally safe to get excited about the upcoming season for our Cleveland Browns. Coming off a less-than-dazzling preseason, the Browns are looking to start peaking into a successful football team on both sides of the ball. This article is to state a few of my bold predictions for this season.

1. Brian Hoyer will be the Browns’ starting quarterback past the week 4 bye week. 

This is a complete contradiction to what I have been saying. Previously, I had said that I thought Hoyer starts the first three games and Manziel takes over in Week 5. I no longer think that’s the case. In the final preseason game against the Bears, the Browns offense looked very crisp with Hoyer at the helm. I realize that the first team offense played primarily against second string players for the Bears, but the fact of the matter is that the offense showed great timing. The offense lacked this timing at just about any point throughout the preseason prior to the final preseason game. I attribute this success to the naming of a starting quarterback. With a decent showing under his belt and with a week and a half more of practice before the first game, Hoyer (and the rest of the offense) is on the upswing. Even when it seemed like Manziel was gaining momentum in the quarterback race, Hoyer was quickly named the starter. I think that trend continues past the bye week.

2. Josh Gordon will be on the field at some point this season. 

With the looming of a new NFL drug policy which would shorten or potentially eliminate the suspensions being faced by a few NFL players, it seems as if the NFL is coming out and saying that their policies are outdated. Roger Goodell admitted an error in only suspending Ray Rice for two games following his violent incident during the offseason, and perhaps he is expressing an error in the drug policy. This would be exceptional for Browns fans and fantasy owners. Suffice it to say that I went and picked up Josh Gordon in all my fantasy leagues.

3. The Browns will be 1-2 entering the bye week. 

It’s no secret that the first three regular season games are pretty brutal for the Browns, so I think a great moral victory would be 1-2, which a chance to regroup in the bye week and attack a schedule in which weeks 5-14 are all very winnable games. The Browns travel to Pittsburgh, and then host the New Orleans Saints and the Baltimore Ravens. The Saints, at this point, are in a different class than the Browns. That’s just the cold, hard truth. I think the Browns’ best chance for a victory is Week 1 against a Steelers team that I think is not very good. Rival games are always a toss up, so I think it is fair to expect the Browns beat either the Steelers or the Ravens.

4. The Browns will have a top 5 defense at season’s end.

Prior to a collapse last season, the Browns had a very solid defense. I find it difficult to believe that Mike Pettine, who has impressed me as a head coach, would tolerate such a collapse. After Hoyer went down last season, to the eye of even the most casual fan, it seemed as if the Browns were disinterested on both sides of the ball. That will not happen this season. The Browns added vocal leaders on the defense in Karlos Dansby and Donte Whitner, both of whom I think improve the Browns at their respective positions. The Browns are very good across the board on defense, and I think this season we can expect consistency on that side of the football. The defense alone will keep them in many games.

5. The Browns will go 9-7 and sneak into the playoffs. 

This is a higher win estimate than many will tell you, but for the Browns, I am optimistic that they can win 9 games with their schedule. Many times it may be ugly, but fortunately for the Browns, there is no such thing as style points in the NFL. I think the Browns win against these opponents (the week they play these opponents are in parentheses): @Steelers (1), Titans (5), Steelers (6), Oakland (8), Tampa Bay (9), Houston (11), @Buffalo (13), Cincinnati (15), @Baltimore (17).

 

As always, Go Browns! Follow me on Twitter: @CST_BenB.

 

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