How Browns will fare this year: Predictably

Since the end of last football season, it has been oft-spoken and oftener-written that 2023 would be the year whose success would define the wisdom – or lack of same – in orchestrating the controversial trade for DeShaun Watson in March 2022.

With the Hall of Fame game in Canton comfortably in the rear-view mirror, now’s the time to peruse the upcoming NFL schedule and apply my decades of experience, wit, and knowledge (along with the tendency to overstate my qualifications). I also personally scouted this season’s opponents by tirelessly devouring (pass the salt) sports magazines and the most up-to-date Ouija boards. So, this may hurt a little...

Week 1 vs. Cincinnati: The Browns have the distinct advantage of playing four of their first five games at home, and three of the first four are against division opponents. Add to that the fact that the cumulative 2022 won-loss record of their opponents was a ho-hum 131-154-2 and it becomes quite clear that if they don’t fare well in the first month or so it will be a (yet again) long season.

The Bengals went 12-4 last year and beating them in the season opener – at home – would get this city energized to a level not seen for several years (the post-Hue Jackson era).

Historically, however, the Browns have traditionally laid a huge egg in openers – especially home openers – and as much as I want them to win, I’m not so sure they’re ready to play with the big boys yet. It will be close at halftime, but the Bengals will pull away in the second half.

The rest of the season will break down – literally – as follows:

Week 2 at Pittsburgh: The Steelers (9-8 in 2022) are not that good. However, they are always up for the Browns. They will eke out a close home victory, dropping Cleveland to 0-2.

Week 3 vs. Tennessee (7-10): With rumors swirling that Coach Stefanski will be updating his resume should the Browns lose this one, they somehow pull off a minor miracle and win a game, bringing the record to 1-2.

Week 4 vs. Baltimore (10-7): Riding a wave of optimism from their one-game winning streak, the Browns fall off their surfboard and lose a very winnable game, donning life jackets as the record sinks to 1-3.

Week 5 (BYE Week); Or in this case, “BYE-BYE” to 4 members of the coaching staff in an apparent effort to shake up the team.

Week 6 vs. San Francisco (13-4): The 49ers, seen chuckling during pregame warmups, laugh harder while destroying the Browns with ease. Browns record is nothing to laugh at, now 1-4. Stefanski be seen checking his shirt during the game to see if it still has a Browns logo on it. Unfortunately for him, it does.

Week 7 at Indianapolis (4-12-1): Browns finally find an opponent who play as poorly as they do and notch a road win, eking out a 17-16 victory. Browns double their win total as record skyrockets up to 2-4.

Week 8 at Seattle (9-8): The Browns, unable to sustain their success, lose a heartbreaker in overtime and fall to 2-5. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, rumored to be interviewing head coaching candidates, says, “Don’t read anything into it.” Browns fans, accustomed to feigning illiteracy when it comes to checking the Browns’ record, still know bad football when they see it.

Well, gang, that’s it for this issue. We’ll pick up the pieces and soldier on through the rest of the schedule next time we get together.

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!

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Volume 15, Issue 14, Posted 8:50 AM, 08.01.2023