Bold Predictions for the 2010 Cleveland Browns

NEW ORLEANS - AUGUST 21: Pierre Thomas of the New Orleans Saints celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Houston Texans at the Louisiana Superdome on August 21, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)Since the Browns’ season officially starts in four days, I thought it was time we threw our hat into the trending “List of Bold NFL Predictions and Rankings” arena for this year. Enjoy, and remember if I’m right, then I told you so, and if I’m wrong, the NFL is too crazy to predict.

SUPER BOLD PREDICTION FOR BEST GAME: On October 24, 2010, the Browns will defeat the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints

Every football team loses one game they have no business losing, and wins one game they have no business winning. That’s what makes the NFL fun.

And as bad as they’ve been recently, the Browns have still defeated the defending Super Bowl champion in each of the past two seasons. They walloped the Giants 31-14 in 2008, and then slipped by the Steelers last year 13-10.

The Browns’ previous two victories over the defending champs did both occur at home. For the Browns to keep the streak alive they will have to go into the Superdome to take out the Saints. That’s a tall order, and they will need an edge. Something new this year they can use to their advantage and help them achieve an otherwise unthinkable win. Like a new quarterback who could transform the identity of their team, and has experience playing in the Superdome, and against the NFC South division overall. Oh wait, they do.

Need more? It’s possible this could be a trap game for the Saints, who would look past the Browns to the Steelers, whom they play on national TV the following week.

BOLD PREDICTION FOR BROWNS FINAL RECORD: 8-8

If I am going to pick the Browns to win a game they have no business winning, I’ve got to pick them to lose one they have no business losing. So I’ll say the Browns only get one of these first two games against Tampa Bay and Kansas City. I am not going to say which one, I just think fans are putting to much emphasis on needing to start off 2-0. It might not happen. So where are all these wins going to come from?

Relax, there’s also no reason to think they couldn’t still finish with decent record after only getting one of those first two.

I have win #2 coming over the Bengals in week 4. Their game in Cleveland last year came down to an overtime field goal, and the Browns are better this time around. The Bengals also have a history of following up good seasons with bad ones, and their offense is old and probably overrated.

The Browns then build off this divisional win with a victory over the Steelers week 6. The game is in Cleveland and I just think its silly to assume Ben Roethlisberger is going to tear it up on the road after missing a month of the season. Then, as I said, they upset the Saints week 7 for win #4.

After the bye week the New York Jets and New England Patriots simply have too much talent for the Browns to handle. But they do have enough talent to defeat a floundering Jacksonville Jaguars team, so I’ll take them in that game for win #5. Then they’ll go a nice little run.

They’ll defeat the Carolina Panthers at home week 9. You think Jake Delhomme will be ready for that one? ESPN’s Power Rankings which have the Panthers six spots ahead of the Browns is absurd considering they’ll be playing with inexperienced QB Matt Moore on the road. With the loss of Julius Peppers to boot, the Browns should be able to match them defensively.

The Buffalo Bill are up next and they might be the worst team in football this year, plus the Browns have defeated them three times in a row. Look for them to make it four in a row for win #7.

Lastly, they’ll go on the road to defeat another overrated team in the Miami Dolphins. The Brandon Marshall & Chad Henne combination still has to prove it’s going to be as successful as everyone thinks, plus the Dolphins running back combination of Rickie Williams and Ronnie Brown is an old one. The Browns will have the better Wildcat team this year.

This game will also take on another dimension when LeBron James announces he will be in attendance with his new buddies, just to show he’s still better than everyone, fueling Brown emotions to victory. That’s your eight wins.

BOLD NEGATIVE PREDICTION: Their best player will fall from elite status

It pains me to say, but Josh Cribbs may have already peaked. He no longer has the contract chip on his shoulder, and history has shown that players’ performance suffers a bit after they sign that big deal.

Also look at the past history of the game’s other great returners. They aren’t dominant for very long.

Cribbs could be considered the greatest of all time, with Devin Hester and Dante Hall in the conversation. Both Hall and Hester suffered a severe drop in performance after two historic seasons. Josh has had his two historic seasons, and one down year marred by injury. To expect him to continue to play at this high level may be expecting too much. Plus the Browns, like the Bears with Hester, are going to try to work their electrifying player into the offense more. That means more hits, less rest, less production. Maybe…

I know, it’s utter blasphemy. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

SEMI-BOLD PREDICTION FOR TOP PERFORMER: Shaun Rogers

Goes along with my prediction that this award won’t go to Josh Cribbs. Shaun Rogers told me something when he turned in a drunk driver two months ago: he is all about redemption.

I get the feeling he is truly embarrassed about accidentally carrying a hand gun through security at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, and is looking to show the NFL he still a viable defensive star. He has one more shot at a big NFL contract; this is probably his last chance to prove he’s worth it before he succumbs to injury and/or age. With a lockout on the horizon, Shaun wants everyone to be left with a good taste in their mouth, and he will be sufficiently motivated.

Plus, the forecast calls for him to play more defensive end this year, which could translate into more sacks and turnovers. Hard stats like sacks look better on your resume when you start asking for a raise. Plus the defense overall will be improved, which will make a good performance from him look even better.

If he stays healthy he’s got pro-bowler written all over him, maybe this prediction isn’t so bold after all.

Good luck Brownies. Follow me on twitter @JimmyCTown to tell me just how crazy you think I am.

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Tags: Cleveland Browns Josh Cribbs LeBron James New Orleans Saints Shaun Rogers

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