NFL analyst predicts Browns get smoked in the AFC North
By Randy Gurzi
In order to get respect, you have to earn it. No one will give it out for free and the Cleveland Browns understand this as much as anyone.
With just three winning records over the past 24 seasons (since their 1999 return), the Browns continue to be doubted and that will remain the case until they prove they're not the same losing franchise we've seen for a quarter of a century.
This is why many analysts are predicting another rough campaign, despite several big moves. For example, Will Brinson of CBS predicted a 7-10 finish and didn't back down when a fan pointed out they changed defensive coordinators, get a full season with Deshaun Watson, made some huge changes on both sides of the ball, and have a fourth-placed schedule.
In fact, he even pointed out which games he thinks Cleveland will lose — and he has them being smoked in the AFC North.
AFC North is the key to Browns season
It's easy to scoff at some of the losses on Brinson's prediction — such as the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos. However, we felt as though the Carolina Panthers, New York Jets, and Atlanta Falcons would all be easy wins last year. Not only did Cleveland go 1-2 in that stretch but it would have been 0-3 if not for a heroic 58-yard game-winner from rookie Cade York.
With that being said, the Browns could very well drop a game or two to an unexpected team — trap games get someone every year. But the real key is going to be how they do in the AFC North.
Six of their toughest games on the season will come from within the division and if they get swept by Cincinnati and Baltimore while losing one to Pittsurgh as Brinson says, a terrible finish is likely. However, if they can even split the series with everyone and go 3-3, that could be the difference from a 7-10 or 8-9 campaign and a winning season with a shot at the playoffs.
It could also be the difference between finally getting respect and constantly being predicted to disappoint.