This week, Marshall Faulk said, "When you’re GMC Professional Grade, you finish what you start. Let’s say your team finishes strong this season and wins EVERY single game left," and then asked us the following questions: "How does it happen? And what does it mean? Do you believe that your team can make it happen?"
If the Browns finished the season winning six straight games for a record of 12-4, I think an appropriately optimistic headline would be, "...Super Bowl?"
Because Cleveland is coming off of a loss to the Texans last week, it seems like the wrong time to bring up the possibility of the Browns winning out. I don't think it will happen because it's an incredibly difficult feat to accomplish in the NFL due to "any given Sunday." I thought the Chiefs were a lock to defeat the Raiders for their sixth straight win last night on Thursday Night Football, but Oakland brought their A-game to pull off the upset.
If it did happen, though, here are three key reasons to believe why it could happen:
Josh Gordon's return to the offense can and will be a shot of electricity, one that counteracts the loss of center Alex Mack. We've seen that every week, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has been able to scheme guys like Andrew Hawkins, Taylor Gabriel, and Travis Benjamin wide open. Imagine how open he can scheme Gordon.
Also, part of Brian Hoyer's accuracy issues is that he is throwing the ball to Hawkins, Gabriel, and Benjamin as if they are half a foot taller than they are. Gordon will be able to come down with all of those high passes. The passing game will help open up some more space in the running game too, where there is now a more focused approach: only Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West. Cleveland's offense could be putting 24+ points on the board the rest of the season with the weapons they'll have, and that's not even factoring in whenever tight end Jordan Cameron returns.
- Defensively, the Browns sound like they will be getting linebackers Jabaal Sheard and Karlos Dansby back much sooner than expected. Prior to them going down against the Texans, we saw how well Cleveland's defense had been playing, completely shutting down teams like Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. We've also seen the Browns' defense play very well with a lead this season, so if the offense is able to step up their game early now, the trickle down effect will benefit the defense.
- On special teams returns, the Browns are attempting to go all-in by firmly committing to Travis Benjamin as their punt returner again. Benjamin might have a reduced role on offense now that Gordon is back, so we might see him take a few chances on returns. Also, over the past two weeks, we've seen Marlon Moore with really good kickoff returns. They were both called back, but the special teams return units could be on the verge of breaking out.
Two weeks ago, the majority of Browns fans voted that the team would finish the year with a 10-6 record. For that to happen, they'd have to win four of their final six games. What are your updated standings predictions for the Browns?