The 2017 NFL season kicks off this week, and for the fun of it, lets prematurely pick the Browns season! It is next to impossible to get this right, at least 100% correctly anyways, but this is always a fun little game to play. As I mentioned in previous blogs, I actually think the Browns are an improved team over the 1-15 season they had just a year ago. How much improved? Let’s see.
Week 1 – 9.10.17 vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Although the Browns are much improved, the Steelers are still a very good, high quality team. The young Browns have a lot to prove and unfortunately, I don’t think week 1 will be in their favor. A home game to open the season, against a bitter rival should be fun, but the Steelers have an explosive offense through the air and on the ground. I feel the Browns will be fairly competitive early in the game, but won’t be able to keep pace.
My pick: Steelers 27 Browns 13 (0-1)
Week 2 – 9.17.17 @ Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens have had a few down years as of late, while falling short of making the playoffs 3 of the last 4 years. They have added some key pieces on both the defensive and offensive sides of the ball, and I feel like this year they should be improved. Their stingy defense will keep the young Browns in check.
My pick: Ravens 13 Browns 10 (0-2)
Week 3 – 9.24.17 @ Indianapolis Colts
I expect the Colts to have a down year. Luck coming off a major shoulder injury is helping steer my pick here. You never know how he’ll actually be feeling, or if he will be ready by this game. I am a big fan of Frank Gore, but he’s getting old and not too sure what to expect from him. I think he’ll be effective during the season, but not enough this particular game with the Browns’ upgraded defense.
My Pick: Colts 17 Browns 28 (1-2)
Week 4 – 10.1.17 vs Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals seem to be a bit of an enigma to me. I don’t see them being a very good team this year, but I may be surprised. They still have a solid QB and receivers, but an o-line that leaves a lot to be desired, and their defense should be a middle of the pack type of unit. The Browns, in their second game at home come out on top.
My pick: Bengals 16 Browns 24 (2-2)
Week 5 – 10.8.17 vs New York Jets
The Jets look pretty bad on all sides of the ball. They will probably end up making the first pick in the 2018 draft kind of bad. I honestly don’t think this will be much of a game, and the Browns will win handily.
My pick: Jets 6 Browns 27 (3-2)
Week 6 – 10.15.17 @ Houston Texans
The Texans offense maybe a little bit suspect with inexperienced QB play, and an ok at best run game. They still have big play receivers though and last years number 1 defense should still be very formidable. This one should be pretty close, but with the Texans at home, I think they pull it out. JJ Watt may even catch another touchdown pass this year.
My pick: Texans 17 Browns 13 (3-3)
Week 7 – 10.22.17 vs Tennessee Titans
This is a team I feel will definitely give the Browns a hard time. A much improved team from last year even, I see them having both a good offense and defense that will give the Browns all they can handle. I don’t see this one being very close.
My pick: Titans 30 Browns 10 (3-4)
Week 8 – 10.29.17 vs Minnesota Vikings
This is a tough one for me to predict as the game will be played at Twickenham stadium in London. It’s hard to tell how either team will adjust to the travel and circumstances. I think the Vikings have more talent but I’m going with the “homer” pick here.
My pick: Vikings 14 Browns 21 (4-4)
Week 9 – Bye week
Week 10 – 11.12.17 @ Detroit Lions
The lions are a team that I never think much of, and usually for good reason. They have some talent on both sides of the ball, but I have a hard time thinking they are improving over the years. Similar to how the national analysts view the Browns. That being said nothing much has changed. The Browns D will shut them down and the offense will do just enough to win.
My pick: Lions 9 Browns 13 (5-4)
Week 11 – 11.19.17 vs Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jags are on the verge of being a pretty good team I think, with a solid defense and a few upgrades on offense. At this point, we are getting later into the season, so health will be key here. I see the young Browns defense slip as the long season progresses. As a result, the slightly more talented Jaguars pull off a road win.
My pick: Jaguars 27 Browns 16 (5-5)
Week 12 – 11.26.17 @ Cincinnati Bengals
I gave the Browns the victory at home earlier in the season, but on the road, I feel Cincy will get the best of the Browns. Between fatigue, potential injuries and inexperience, the Bengals take this one.
My pick: Bengals 21 Browns 20 (5-6)
Week 13 – 12.3.17 @
San Diego Los Angeles Chargers
It’s never easy to travel across the country to play a game. Week 13 has the Browns doing just that, against a potential playoff team in the Chargers. Now in L.A, the Chargers have put together a pretty good squad. I think the Charger defense will carry them, and their offense will put them over the top in many games, including this one.
My pick: Chargers 16 Browns 13 (5-7)
Week 14 -12.10.17 vs Green Bay
The Packers come to Cleveland as one of the teams I think will go deep in the playoffs. A high power offense and a stout defense will prove to be too much for the Browns. Look for a potentially huge game out of Aaron Rodgers and company. This time of year in Cleveland would normally put the odds in the Browns’ favor, but not against the Packers.
My pick: Packers 34 Browns 17 (5-8)
Week 15 – 12.17.17 vs Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore is still a formidable opponent and this should be a good game; being at home will be in the Browns favor, at least it should be. But, as I mentioned from the week two matchup, I feel like the Ravens will have a good defense and a descent offense. In the end, the Ravens will find a way to get it done.
My pick: Ravens 19 Browns 10 (5-9)
Week 16 – 12.24.17 @ Chicago Bears
The Browns travel to Soldier Field for a Christmas Eve battle with the Bears. I don’t see the Bears being any good this year, but they may have an advantage being at home on a holiday weekend. I don’t think it will be enough of an advantage though, and the Browns will get a nice gift in the form of a win.
My Pick: Bears 6 Browns 14 (6-19)
Week 17 – 12.31.17 @ Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Browns will be looking to end the year on a high note during this New Year’s Eve matchup, and depending on the Steelers’ playoff position, they may be resting key players. If the Steelers aren’t resting starters, it won’t be close. The explosive offense will handle the Browns with ease at home.
My pick: Steelers 34 Browns 13
So there you have it! My 2017 picks for your Cleveland Browns. Of course there a million factors that cannot possibly be accounted for; injuries, player development, coaching and so on. If the Browns go 6-10, we have to look at that as a success. A five game turnaround from last year would be amazing, and hopefully a nice spring board into the 2018 season. I think the Browns are on the right track, and will continue to build. They play in a very tough division and going up against the NFC north and AFC south don’t do them any favors. That being said, I will be happy with this type of progress. What do you think? Let me know!