Ok, since there are now 17 games in the NFL regular season, there is not an exact halfway point. But 8 games in, we are close enough.
The Browns’ record currently sits at 3-5. Their most recent game was a Halloween victory of 32-13 on Monday Night Football. Cleveland is in 3rd place in the AFC North division and are still in the thick of the playoff hunt. Week 9 was their bye week and their next opponent will be away at the Miami Dolphins on November 13th.
Before the season started, I predicted that the Browns would have a 4-4 record after 8 games. Close, but not quite right. A tragic loss to the Jets thwarted my prognostication. Such is being a Browns fan. Outside of the most recent win against the Bengals, the Browns haven’t put together a game where the offense, defense, and special teams have all done their part.
In order to remain in the playoff chase, they will need to examine what worked well against Cincinnati, and continue to do that.
11- game Prediction
I also predicted that the Browns would go 6-5 with Watson out, that is looking doubtful. That would mean, Cleveland needs to rattle off 3-straight wins, possible but not probable. This Browns team seems too inconsistent to bank on going 3-0 vs. Miami, Buffalo, and Tampa Bay in the next 3 weeks.
Deshaun Watson is eligible to return on December 4th (week 12) against the Houston Texans. Assuming Watson can shake off the rust, the Browns would ideally like to hand him at least 5 wins. Which would of course mean that Cleveland goes 2-1 over the next 3 games, a tall order.
So, how will the Browns end? I originally predicted they would go 10-7 and make the playoffs. Since they have one less win at this point then I thought, I now predict they go 9-8 and narrowly miss the playoffs.
Could they go 10-7 and make the playoffs? Definitely. But they will need to win a game that they won’t be expected to. The season could very well come down to the final game against the Steelers in Pittsburgh. I’m already nervously sweaty thinking about that matchup.
Against the Bengals, the Browns offense, defense, and special teams all contributed. That has not been the case except maybe against the Panthers in week 1. For the Browns to make up ground in the division and pursue the playoffs, they need everyone to be on the same page and play complementary football.
Hopefully the Browns got healthy over their bye week and to borrow a soccer phrase, they are ready to “sacrifice for the shirt.” There have been far too many times over the years where the brown and orange has not had the necessary player, coaching, and ownership, pride and dedication. This has to end now.
Everyone needs to row together and hope that Deshaun Watson has put his troubles behind him and is ready to lead the team and excel on the field. Despite a disappointing 3-5 start, the Browns are still in it! Come on Browns!
Let us know in the comments if you think the Browns can still make the playoffs this year!