The Cleveland Browns had seven wins in 2018, a drastic improvement after having just one win total from 2016-2017 combined. With an improved defense and the addition of WR Odell Beckham Jr. on offense, the Browns are the darlings of the NFL heading into the 2019 campaign.
This week, the league-wide SB Nation NFL preview was released. It includes a few quick hitters about each team, including what the record prediction for the Browns will be each year. I always hate doing record predictions, because usually it is a case where Cleveland has a bad team, but I try and want to be optimistic at the start of the season before all of the losing kicks in. This year is different, so I threw my chips in on 11 victories:
“Cleveland will go 11-5 this season, enough to capture the AFC North. The ceiling could be higher for the Browns, but I think the fanbase will have to get used to the fact that having some tough losses throughout the season isn’t a sign to panic. Winning 11 games in the NFL is hard, and it would be a great feat to get to the postseason. The Baker Mayfield effect in Cleveland is real. Adding Odell Beckham Jr. only accentuates that.” -Chris Pokorny, Dawgs By Nature
Funny enough, SB Nation ended up branding the record predictions as “heart” vs. “head,” with each team blogger representing the “heart” and former NFL offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz representing the “head.” Schwartz’ “expert prediction” says that 11 wins is too high:
“Let me steer the hype train back on track. I think 11 wins is too high — nine wins sounds about right. Freddie Kitchens has never been a head coach before. The Browns are still young at quarterback and have terrible offensive tackles. They also make the biggest jump in the NFL this season in pass defenses they will play against. While the defense could be special, that might not enough.” -Geoff Schwartz, SB Nation
I’d like to think that Cleveland’s offseason improvements, coupled with further development of key players, would account for two wins. But I can meet Schwartz in the middle and go with ten wins, right?