In spite of the Coronavirus crisis, the NFL is hopes and plans to play its season. Whether it is with fans or without, there is a good chance we will see Browns football this fall and in a potential do or die season for quarterback Baker Mayfield.
After failing to live up to expectations last season, the Browns will look to make their mark in a heavily contested AFC North in what will be the first year under new head coach Kevin Stefanski. They look to make the postseason for the first time since 2002.
Naturally, as the season edges ever closer, some of the CST crew will be making their official predictions for here and now. Nonetheless, there will be documentation on this website for whether it will be used for ridicule or praise within the near future.
Many thanks go to fellow CST Staff Writers Samuel Evans and Mason Lawlor for their efforts in the making of this piece.
Chris Evans: 10-6
Free agency was really strong and, thus, gives credence to a 10-win season. New general manager Andrew Berry finally has addressed the tackle positions that were like a revolving door in 2019. Myles Garrett is due to return after the infamous helmet incident last season. There also seems to have been a coaching staff upgrade with Stefanski looking better equipped to run a team than Freddie Kitchens. This in new defensive coordinator Joe Woods and new offensive-heavy offense stands to alleviate the pressure on the former Oklahoma man. It will, more importantly, benefit Nick Chubb, who was within an inch of taking home the rushing title of last season.
The Browns haven’t gone into a season with an offense this talented in recent memory and there will be serious questions to be answered if this team underperforms. The defense has also been bolstered with additions like Grant Delpit, Karl Joseph, Andrew Sendejo, BJ Goodson, all of whom should play major roles in 2020.
Finally, the Browns appear to have a favorable schedule heading into 2020 with only playing four playoff teams from last season in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Houston and Tennessee. However, while games against Pittsburgh, Dallas and Las Vegas stand out as four potential banana skins, the Browns shouldn’t be intimidated against any of those teams as they have the ability to win those games.
Samuel Evans: 8-8
The Browns’ offense takes a major step forward with Baker Mayfield throwing for over 4000 yards and 30 touchdowns for the first time in his career. Nick Chubb and Odell Beckham Jr. flourish in their first year under Kevin Stefanski, being named All-Pros. The offensive line improves as well and the Browns are one of the best offensive teams in the country.
However, the defense struggles, a young linebacker core gets picked apart and due to continued injuries, the secondary is one of the worst in the league. The defensive line is one of the best in the league, but they can’t overcome the defensive struggles. The Browns falter late in the season and spend another January on the couch.
Mason Lawlor: 9-7
The NFL helped out the Browns by giving them two prime time division games at FirstEnergy Stadium in 2020. The schedule sets them up nicely to go at least 2-1 during the first three weeks.
Another encouraging note is that Cleveland’s toughest games outside of the AFC North will be at home. Considering the presence of new Head Coach Kevin Stefanski, who seems to have a firm grasp on the “process” it takes to get to winning, this roster of young players will have better leadership at the helm.
To have their first winning season since 2007, the Browns will have to come out of the gate strong in preparation for a difficult stretch in weeks 10 through 14. After a miserable 6-10 finish in 2019, a three-win improvement in 2020 after upgrading the offensive line and tight ends is more than reasonable.