Browns' 2016 Win Total Prediction
Can 2016 be a positive season for the Cleveland Browns with the other sports teams in town flourishing?
The Browns aren’t being given very lofty odds for the upcoming year, as oddsmakers at BetDSI have listed them with an over/under of 4.5 wins for the 2016 regular season. Both the over and under carry a money line of -115. Cleveland also has the longest odds to win the Super Bowl this season at +20000.
After a 3-13 season in 2015, the Browns cut ties with Mike Pettine as head coach and hired in Hue Jackson to lead the squad this year. Jackson comes from the Bengals as their offensive coordinator the past two seasons. Ray Farmer is also out as GM of Cleveland and replaced by Sashi Brown.
The roster looks much different this season as well. The team lost star center Alex Mack to the Falcons and receiver Travis Benjamin moved on to the Chargers. The team finally cut ties with troubled QB Johnny Manziel and replaced him with often-injured QB Robert Griffin III. The Browns are hoping that Griffin can return to form from his rookie year in 2012 when he threw for 3,200 yards and 20 touchdowns while rushing for 815 yards and seven scores. Griffin didn’t take a single snap in 2015 despite claiming being healthy. It’s unclear what kind of shape his legs are in right now and if he has developed at all as a thrower in his time off.
To address the loss of Benjamin, the team’s top wide receiver in 2015, Cleveland took Baylor WR Corey Coleman with the 15th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. At just 5-11, it’s hard to know what to expect of Coleman in terms of being a big-play receiver. Cleveland will have Gary Barnidge back at TE. He exploded onto the scene in 2015, catching 79 passes for 1,043 yards and nine touchdowns. The ninth-year TE from Louisville will likely be a frequent target of RG3. For the Browns to be successful, they will need massive improvement out of the run game. The Browns were 22nd in the league on the ground in 2015, posting just 1,529 yards. Cleveland has Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr. to work with, but neither averaged 4 yards per carry. Johnson was an asset in the pass game, but couldn’t find his stride carrying the ball in his rookie year.
Defensively, Cleveland was 27th in the NFL in total yards allowed, giving up 379.2 yards per game in 2015. The Browns had just 29 sacks as a team last year. They looked to address that in the Draft by picking up defensive ends Emmanuel Ogbah and Carl Nassib. The Browns also signed linebackers Demario Davis and Justin Tuggle in the offseason, as well as safety Rahim Moore.
Expectations are low for good reason in Cleveland. It’s hard to know what to expect from the Browns, especially on the offense. Can RG3 stay on the field and be a reliable option at QB? Is Corey Coleman an immediate impact player? Will Barnidge be able to build off 2015? The Browns play five of their first seven on the road, with the two home games against Baltimore and New England. The tough start could derail any potential momentum the team was hoping to build. If RG3 starts slow, will they turn the ball over to third-round pick Cody Kessler and call the season a wash? If Cleveland had some winnable home games early, I could see them push for 5-7 wins. But, the five road games and two tough outings at home make it hard to see them winning more than 2 early. The struggles should continue from there. Sorry Cleveland, but 2016 isn’t likely to be your year in the NFL.
2016 NFL WIN TOTAL PICK: CLEVELAND BROWNS UNDER 4.5 (-115)