Even if it doesn’t always feel like it for fans, the NFL season is quickly approaching. As of this writing, teams are either in the middle of OTA’s, or, are about to enter them, with training camp soon to follow. As we work our way through the summer, we enter the season of speculation. As we continue our series of season predictions of how each team’s season could go, today our focus is on the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns are one of the most interesting stories in the league going into 2022. They are also one of the hardest teams to pin down. Will newly acquired quarterback Deshaun Watson be able to participate this season? If so, how many games could he miss, if any at all? That in itself is a story for another day. But for the purpose of today, we are going under the assumption that he plays the whole season. So, with that said, here are my predictions for the Cleveland Browns 2022 season.
Week One. @ The Carolina Panthers
Week Two. Vs The New York Jets
Week Three. Vs The Pittsburgh Steelers
Week Four. @ The Atlanta Falcons
Week Five. Vs The LA Chargers
Week Six. Vs The New England Patriots
Week Seven. @ The Baltimore Ravens
Week Eight. Vs The Cincinnati Bengals
Week Nine. Bye Week
Week Ten. @ The Miami Dolphins
Week Eleven. @ The Buffalo Bills
Week Twelve. Vs The Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week Thirteen. @ The Houston Texans
Week Fourteen. @ The Cincinnati Bengals
Week Fifteen. Vs The Baltimore Ravens
Week Sixteen. Vs The New Orleans Saints
Week Seventeen. @ The Washington Commanders
Week Eighteen. @ The Pittsburgh Steelers
Within the first five games, I have the Browns going 3-2 to start the season. Within these five games, I have wins over the Panthers, Steelers and Falcons while losing to the Jets and Chargers. Carolina is still in rebuilding mode and should be a favorable opener for the Browns. The Jets on the other hand could be a team on the rise and I see them pulling off the win in Cleveland. I have the Steelers pulling one out as well at home against the Browns while having Cleveland bounce back against a struggling Falcons team and falling again to the Chargers, who could be contenders this season.
Over the next three weeks I have the Browns picking up two wins over the Patriots and Ravens. The win over the Ravens could be a shocker as the game will be played in Baltimore. However, the Ravens have not improved their wide receiver room and could be a bit one dimensional on offense, therefore I will give the edge to the Browns in this one. I do have them picking up a loss against in the Bengals in Cincinnati. This will take Cleveland into their bye week in week nine.
I see the Browns going 2-3 between weeks ten and fifteen. This includes wins over the Dolphins and Texans while picking up losses against the Bills, Buccaneers and once again the Bengals. The Dolphins and Texans both should be improved, however, I don’t feel they have enough to compete with Cleveland’s roster which is solid up and down. That being said, the Bills, Buccaneers, and Bengals are all Super Bowl contenders with elite quarterbacks. Even if Deshaun Watson is available, I simply don’t see the Browns on the same level of these other team’s right now.
On the bright side, I see the Browns finishing strong going 3-0 to finish the season. Two of these wins will be against NFC teams, that being the Saints and the Commanders. The last win could be a huge one for the Browns as it’s a divisional game against the Steelers.
The Browns are tricky for multiple reasons. They have a talented roster but also have a history of imploding. Of course, 2022 is a new season and teams are capable of evolving. That being said, that evolution will have to show on the field. Will that happen for Cleveland in 2022? We shall see.
Once again, the quarterback situation is still up in the air. Speaking strictly from a football standpoint, Watson is one of the more talented signal callers in the NFL. That being said, his off the field issues are serious issues that goes far beyond football. This leaves a lot of questions for the Browns not only this season, but the future as well.
Lastly, the AFC North is one of the toughest divisions in the NFL. This division could go in many different directions. The Browns can absolutely be players in the race. That being said, it will not be easy. Every team in the North has a tough road ahead of them this season.
I have the Browns finishing 10-7. Will that be good enough for a play-off spot? It’s really hard to say in the AFC. There will be good teams sitting at home in January and it is far too early to say who those teams will be. That being said, a 10-7 run is nothing to scoff at. The Browns can be good this year. I don’t know if they are Super Bowl contenders in 2022. However, they are one of the more interesting teams watch this season.