Browns vs. Patriots: DPD staff predictions

Oct 9, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady walks into the stadium prior to the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 9, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady walks into the stadium prior to the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dawg Pound Daily staff got together to share their predictions for the Week 5 matchup between the Cleveland Browns and the New England Patriots.

The Cleveland Browns are ready to take on the New England Patriots in today’s Week 5 matchup. With the Browns still seeking their first win of 2016, let’s see what the staff thinks about their chances to win today.

Jonathan Goehring (2016 record: 2-2): Patriots 34, Browns 17

I’m really sick of picking against the Browns, so I decided to make a compromise this week. The Browns will lose, there’s really no doubt about that. But don’t worry, Cleveland fans. Here’s where the compromise comes in. Sunday will not be in vain, because the Indians will win 8-6 over the other team from Boston, clinching a spot in the American League Championship Series. But anyways, back to the Browns.

The Patriots are 8-2 against the Browns since the team came back in 1999, and they are almost invincible following losses. Oh, and by the way, Tom Brady is returning to the field for the first time this season with a lot to prove. On offense, the Patriots have too many weapons for a depleted Cleveland defense to handle. Defensively, New England is extremely underrated, and can stop the run much more effectively than Washington. Any way it is sliced, this matchup does not bode well for the Browns.

They will surrender three touchdowns early on, before settling in, but will never recover. It won’t be a bad game for quarterback Cody Kessler, but the running game will struggle, really making matters impossible for Cleveland’s offense. A unit resorting to passing on every down late in the game against a prevent defense will put some points on the board, but by that point, Cleveland fans including myself will be taking off their Haden or Gordon jersey and putting on their Francisco Lindor jersey. The final will be 34-17, Patriots.

Tom Moore (2016 record: 4-0): Patriots 31, Browns 10

The Cleveland Browns only have one thing going for them in today’s game against the New England Patriots, which is their ability to run the ball.

The Browns enter the contest as the league’s top rushing team, just narrowly edging out the Dallas Cowboys and their rookie running back who Browns fans clamored for Cleveland to draft.  Other than that, though, there is not much to hang your hat on in looking for a Browns win.

The Patriots hit town with quarterback Tom Brady back from his four-game suspension and coming off a shutout loss to the Buffalo Bills. New England rarely loses two games in a row, especially not against the likes of the Bills and the Browns.

Throw in that the Browns have lost seven of the past nine games between the two teams, and are giving up almost 29 points per game, and it doesn’t look promising.

That elusive first win is out there, it just won’t be claimed today at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Roger Cohen (2016 record: 3-1): Browns 19, Patriots 15

This is the game I had circled on my calendar all summer: Tom Brady’s return game, in Cleveland and a better than outside shot the same weekend the Indians might be hosting a playoff game. Everything lined up for a return to the real “Believeland” where everything goes wrong, usually in surreal fashion.

Well, this is 2016 and well, so far so good. Cavs end The Real Curse, Tribe earned home field advantage against the Bosox and despite the 0-4 start, Coach Hue Jackson has the undermanned Browns playing hard and usually smart. I’ll take that.

As for the Pats game, my crystal ball nailed the Browns the last two weeks — up to and including the blown kicks against Miami and the fumbles costing us victory in Washington — so if you haven’t read my Survivor Warning Lock Game on Dawg Pound Daily, :

  • Tom Brady lost 34-14 his last time in Cleveland — to weak-armed rookie Cody Kessler v.1. Colt McCoy.
  • Brady may be a little rusty, or like VP candidate Tim Kaine, a bit too amped up.
  • The Browns will win a game — why not this one?

A long Duke Johnson catch-and-run, a Terrelle Pryor trick play pass, a couple short Cody Parkey field goals and an out-of-nowhere pass rush rattle Tom Terrific as the Browns cling to a 4th quarter 19-15 lead (a Pats safety and/or 2 pt. PAT). Briean or another practice squad DB picks off a late game pass, Pryor scrambles for a key first down and Cleveland hangs on for the Upset of the Century.*

And in a Sunday Night That Might Match Last Fathers’ Day–Cleveland fans skip the presidential debate to watch replays of Mumbles Belichick’s “they beat us in all phases” presser and the Tribe’s locker room celebration from Fenway after sweeping the Red Sox.

* This prediction not valid if Browns botch a snap, fumble in the red zone, or miss a >50 yard FG. Or if Brady throws for 400 yards.

Joel Cade (2016 record: 3-1): Patriots 38, Browns 24

The schedule makers did not help the Browns this week. They draw Tom Brady after his Deflategate suspension with something to prove. Analysts have been debating all week whether the Browns will lose by 35 points or will they lose by a measly 25 points. Discounting the Browns in this one is a mistake. They have been playing tough, showing improvement week to week. Expect this week to be the same.

The offense would be smart to play up-tempo right from the start.  This would be a perfect time to unleash the no-huddle offense. The defense needs to control the middle of the field limiting damage from the tight ends. Brady is most effective in the pocket. The Browns need to force him out of the pocket or move him off his spot. If the Browns can accomplish this, they have a chance.

However, this young team is not experienced or polished enough to take out the Patriots. If the Patriots make some mistakes they could pull it off. But don’t count on it.

Matt Stevenson (2016 Record: 3-0): Patriots 33, Browns 17

Tom Brady is back and ready to start off his 2016 campaign in stylish fashion against the Browns. My gut is telling me Cleveland might hang around this game, although my head is saying blow out.

The Browns lead the NFL in rushing due to Isaiah Crowell’s breakout season. Terrelle Pryor burned Josh Norman plenty last Sunday and Cody Kessler didn’t play terrible either. However, Bill Belichick is a football mastermind and will wreak havoc against this young Browns offense. The Patriots will attempt to confuse Kessler throughout the game and the Browns defense will have the undesirable task of stopping Tom Brady.

The suspension stemming from “Deflategate” doesn’t help the Browns despite possibly having NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in a Browns uniform. Patriots come in and Brady gets things kicked off the way we all thought.

Steven Kubitza (2016 record: 1-3): Patriots 31, Browns 20

I have gone with the Browns three times this season. I can’t do it again this week.

This is the type of game the post-1999 Browns pull off an upset, but Tom Brady and the Patriots are just too good of a team to slip up in Cleveland.

The Browns will once again get our hopes up early, but Brady will prove to be better than ever in his return, making quick work of the young Browns defense. Go Tribe!