The Cleveland Browns are 4-7 with a very slim chance to make a push for the NFL playoffs in 2022. The Browns salvaged what little hope they had with their Week 12 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and hope that the return of QB Deshaun Watson will lead them to the promised land this year.
When the NFL schedule came out, many saw the first part of Cleveland’s schedule as the easy part. A time when the team could rack up wins while awaiting the return of Watson.
Instead, the team blew a few games they could have and should have won and some of the teams that were considered weak on the schedule have turned in good seasons, so far.
A look back at the Browns strength of schedule so far shows that they have faced the second-hardest set of defenses in the entire league this year and around average quality offenses:
The fact that QB Jacoby Brissett was able to keep the offense mostly humming is impressive given this data.
Thankfully, Watson won’t have to face nearly as good of defenses in his final six games while Cleveland’s defense will face a below-average, on average, set of offenses:
Remaining strength of schedule based on these tiers pic.twitter.com/OW00BaWbgW— Timo Riske (@PFF_Moo) November 29, 2022
For clarity, the Texans are the worst offense in this data set which skews the data slightly.
In the end, the Browns have to win the games set in front of them after failing to do so earlier this season. A team that (with an onside kick recovery and a made field goal) should be 6-5 has no room for excuses or failures no matter who their opponent is in the last six weeks.
Cleveland either wins six games and gives themselves a chance at the playoffs or starts planning for next season. Thankfully, the offense should have a much easier time scoring and the defense, especially this week, should have a much easier time getting stops.
Are you surprised by the Browns strength of schedule graphs shown above?