Cleveland Browns: Projecting the most important game in 2017
A recent ESPN.com projection selected the most important game for the Cleveland Browns’ already slim playoff chances in 2017.
Cleveland Browns fans always hope for the best. A playoff berth never seems realistic, but there is nothing wrong with being optimistic.
A recent projection on ESPN.com broke down the most important game for each NFL team in 2017 when it comes to determining playoff chances. These games are ones in which a win boosts the chances, while a loss diminishes hope significantly.
Unfortunately for the Browns, there isn’t much of a difference in their most important game, which happens to be Week 17 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. According to the projection, a win or a loss doesn’t really change much when it comes to playoff chances.
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Plenty of the unexpected would have to happen before that Week 17 game if it were to carry any meaning for the Browns other than where the team will end up in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
The first two or three games of the season have the most impact on the team’s playoff chances, although a 2-0 or 2-1 start may not mean the team is surely headed for the postseason. However, it would keep the hope alive.
Preseason projections from countless publications are going to have the Browns finishing near the bottom of the NFL in 2017, meaning the team will be playing as underdogs all season long.
That is nothing new for the Browns, and maybe the lack of pressure will lead to some surprises.
A team filled with so many young players has not yet been beaten down by the same cycle that plagues Browns fans, and this team is nearly another fresh start with all the new faces. Those who are returning are among those trusted by the front office to contribute to the change in culture.
Next: Top 5 QBs Browns will face in 2017
The current process may take a few years to come to fruition, but it sure would be nice to see the Browns playing in meaningful games that had playoff implications, especially against the Steelers.