Pro Football Focus has the over/under on the Browns at 9.5 wins. After a playoff season that saw Cleveland total 11 victories, Kevin Stefanski and company should be expected to at least match the number of wins fans saw in 2020.
That’s especially true considering the NFL added an extra game to its schedule.
First, let’s look at the division: The Bengals should be improved, but I think you can still count two wins against Cincinnati. I think a split with Baltimore and Pittsburgh is reasonable.
The toughest games on the schedule will feature road games in Green Bay and Kansas City, in addition to the usual divisional matchups with the Ravens and Steelers.
But there are winnable games out there. The Packers may be the NFC north, but so are the Bears, Lions and Vikings. The Chiefs rule the west, but Cleveland should be able to score some wins over the Raiders, Broncos and Chargers.
Plus, I believe they play the same-place opponent from the AFC South, as well as the same-place opponent from the AFC East, meaning they’ll get the Texans at home and the Patriots on the road. Who knows if Deshaun Watson will be starting for Houston, while Tom Brady isn’t walking through the tunnel any longer at Foxboro.
Additionally, with the 17th game being added, the Browns found out they’ll be playing the Cardinals. Kyle Murry’s on the rise, but Arizona isn’t exactly a world beater at his point.
We’ll sort through game predictions when the schedule is revealed, but if pressed in April, the homer in me could make a case for the Browns winning 12-13 games. Realistically, I think 11 victories is the number they’ll finish on, meaning they’ll have gone 11-6.
I had the Browns going 10-6 a season ago and was never more happy to be wrong. In 2019, I had the Browns going 12-4, and we all know how the Freddie Kitchens era ended.