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2023 Browns season: NFL point differential tells the story of a good, not great, team

The Browns schedule has been tough which could play a role as well

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Cleveland Browns Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns are 7-3 going into Week 12 of the 2023 NFL season. Most fans should be overjoyed by that record even if the team was completely healthy. In reality, watching every game, the Browns could have/should have won two more games but also had a couple that they were lucky to come away with a victory.

At the end of the season, all that matters is the team’s record and any tiebreakers that might be needed. However, analyzing the NFL has become a huge industry with a ton of metrics of interest including point differential.

Unlike many of the more complex data points (DVOA, EPA, etc), point differential is quite simple: How many points did you score minus how many points you gave up.

For Cleveland, +47 represents a positive point differential for the first 11 weeks of a very difficult Browns schedule. The Browns are one of eight teams in the AFC with a positive point differential at this point in the season.

Many analysts like using this metric as it shows if teams are close in most games and have the ability to control others.

Cleveland’s schedule shows that they lost by four points twice and were blown out by 25 points in their other loss. Offset that with four last-second wins and blowout victories of 21, 24 and 27 points.

In relation to the rest of their conference, the Browns have the fifth-best point differential with the Baltimore Ravens at the top with +127. League-wide, Cleveland’s +47 is the eighth-best.

Point differential says what most analysts would say about the Browns right now: “Good but not great.” Despite that, Cleveland, along with three other teams, is just a half-game back of Baltimore for the best record in the AFC.

With seven games left in the season, it will be interesting if point differential and record continue to matchup for the Browns. If we see bigger victories, and close loss or two, it may be a sign that Cleveland is closer to great than good. If wins are tight and losses are bigger, good might be where the team tops out right now.


Are there any metrics (not just record) that you think tell a good story of the Browns so far this season?