The Cleveland Browns lost on Sunday to the Los Angeles Chargers, 19-10, for their 12th defeat of the season. The team is still in search of their first win of the 2017 NFL season, as the Browns stand at 0-12. The season has unraveled and change is coming most likely following the end of this debacle of a season. But, before we get to the offseason, the big question is: Will the Browns win a game this season?
Well, the Browns have four games left to wave off the 0-16 parade and get at least one victory in the 2017 NFL season. The Browns will have two straight home games starting this Sunday versus the Green Bay Packers. Following the Packers, the Browns host the Baltimore Ravens. To finish up the season, the Browns hit the road for the Chicago Bears and then the season finale at the Pittsburgh Steelers. Is there at least one win in there?
Let’s take a look at each of the final four games. I will examine the four opponents, while also giving my likelihood of a victory and a fearless prediction. Here we go.
Sunday, December 10th: Browns vs. Green Bay Packers (6-6)
What to Know
The Green Bay Packers are coming off an overtime win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and are in the midst of a somewhat hopeful playoff run. The Packers are out of the running for the division with the Minnesota Vikings cruising at the top of the division at 10-2. Green Bay has a chance to possibly earn a bid as a wildcard team, but they trail both the Seattle Seahawks and the Carolina Panthers, who both stand at 8-4. So, the Browns will be facing a very hungry and motivated team, looking to improve their standing in the wildcard race.
How the Browns match up with the Packers
The Packers are toting an inexperienced backup quarterback in Brett Hundley, who replaced Aaron Rodgers after his injury. But, the Packers have some dangerous weapons in the passing game in wide receivers Davante Adams and Jordy Nelson. The Packers offense is definitely not one of the more prolific units, especially without Rodgers. The Browns defense should be able to handle the Packers offense. The Browns defensive line should have an advantage against the Packers offensive line, which would mean the Browns can get some pressure on Hundley and force mistakes. With Cleveland’s solid run defense, the Browns could be able to put the success of the offense on the back of Hundley.
On offense, the Browns should not be scared of the Packers pass defense and secondary. Quarterback DeShone Kizer will not be threatened by a dangerous defense, giving him a chance to rebound from the poor performance against the Chargers. The Browns run game could have some problems against the solid Packers defense. With the quick trigger of Hue Jackson to ditch the run game, the Browns may not have success in this area. Kizer may need to be the driving force to a successful day on offense.
Likelihood of a Win
40%. It’s higher than you think. The Browns are at home versus a team that will likely overlook them due to their final stretch of tough games. The lack of a good quarterback for the Packers and their numerous injuries also levels the playing field a little.
I believe the Browns will win this game. Call me crazy (I am), but I have circled this game on the schedule for a few weeks now. The Packers are the walking wounded and have a below average quarterback leading the offense. This means the Browns will not need to get into a scoring battle. Defense will be the key and I think the Browns have the edge in this battle.
Sunday, December 17th: Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens (7-5)
What to Know
The Baltimore Ravens are rolling with a three-game win streak, after they defeated the Detroit Lions on Sunday. The Ravens are likely out of the running for the AFC North division title with the Pittsburgh Steelers at the top with a 10-2 record. But, the Ravens are in the playoffs as of today as the second wildcard team. Baltimore is likely battling for the two wildcard spots amongst the group of the Jaguars, Chargers, Bills and Raiders. The Ravens will be highly motivated to continue their run to the playoffs. Cleveland lost the first matchup versus Baltimore, 24-10.
How the Browns match up with the Ravens
The Browns just do not match up with the Baltimore Ravens. On offense, the Browns are just overmatched by the talented Ravens defense. Allowing the third fewest points per game, the Ravens defense is a complete unit with playmakers all around. Kizer will likely struggle like he did in the first game against the talented defense. The secondary and pass rush is just a deadly combination that will likely cause Kizer to commit multiple mistakes. The only way the Browns can try and get some momentum on offense is through their run game. Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson should be heavily used to limit the exposure of Kizer.
On defense, the Browns have always struggled against quarterback Joe Flacco. Flacco has a 16-2 record versus Cleveland. But, the Ravens offense is not a unit to fear. The player to watch on the Ravens offense against the Browns is tight end Benjamin Watson. Watson crushed the Browns defense in the season’s first game as most tight ends have against the unit. Big plays will be a determining factor to keep the offense down as receivers Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin can take the top off a defense. The trio of Alex Collins, Javorius Allen and Danny Woodhead form a versatile running backs unit that can hurt you in multiple ways. With Flacco under center, the offense will likely be all right versus the Browns defense.
Likelihood of a Win
2%. The Browns will be facing a team in the midst of playoff run with a powerful defense and a veteran quarterback. Not good.
The Browns will lose this game and it will likely be an ugly one to watch. The Browns offense will not be successful versus the Ravens defense and Flacco will be Flacco versus the Browns.
Sunday, December 24th: Browns @ Chicago Bears (3-9)
What to Know
The Chicago Bears are 3-9 after losing on Sunday to the San Francisco 49ers, 15-14. The Bears are out of the playoff chase and in the midst of a rebuild. The team will not have the motivation of a playoff race with just draft positioning on the line.
How the Browns match up with the Bears
The Chicago Bears offense is led by a rookie quarterback, Mitch Trubisky. The Browns defense actually matches up with this offense pretty well. The Browns defense is more talented than the Bears offense. The backbone of the Bears offense is running back Jordan Howard and the run game. But, the Browns’ strength on defense is their run defense, which is a good sign for this game. If the Browns can slow down the Bears run game, it will force Trubisky to have to do more to score points. And when you put a rookie quarterback with a big workload, mistakes can be made. The Bears have an OK line, but the Browns have faced better this season. The two players the Browns need to focus on intently are Howard and the big play producer Tarik Cohen.
The Bears defense is a solid group with a cornerback unit that can be troubling for an opposing receiver unit to get away from. Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara form a young talented cornerback duo, who has really emerged this season. The Chicago defensive line is another solid unit to keep in check. Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks is a disruptive player in the trenches, who can make plays against the run and pass game. Kizer will once again face a defense that can make a hard day for him, but it is a unit that should not deter him. The run game should be the Browns centerpiece as it should be always.
Likelihood of a Win
55%. The Browns will be on the road, but the Bears are a young team with no motivation of a playoff race. Both teams will be looking towards the offseason.
I think the Browns will lose this game. The Browns should win this game as I think the Browns are more talented than the Bears. But, this game seems like a game where the Browns somehow overlook the opponent and lose like the Colts game earlier in the season.
Sunday, December 31st: Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers (10-2)
What to Know
The Pittsburgh Steelers are 10-2 after their victory on Monday night versus the Cincinnati Bengals. The Steelers are at the top of the AFC North division and are looking like they will take the title again this season. The Steelers will be motivated to stay on top of the division, but also to improve their seed in the AFC playoffs. The Steelers have a chance to get the No. 1 seed and get homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. The Browns lost the first matchup to the Steelers, 21-18.
How the Browns match up with the Steelers
The Browns defense is overmatched by the explosive Pittsburgh Steelers defense. The Steelers offense is a big play producer, but it can also control the time of possession. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is a Hall of Fame quarterback who has dominated the Browns in his career, notching a 22-2 record versus Cleveland. Wide receiver Antonio Brown is a mismatch for all the Browns secondary players (and the league), while running back Le’Veon Bell is a player who can kill a defense running or catching the ball. The Browns defense is not bad to say the least, but the Steelers have one of the best offenses in the league will playmakers throughout the unit. The saving grace may be that with it being the season finale, some of these playmakers might sit.
The Browns offense versus the Steelers defense is another loss for Cleveland. The Ravens defense has very little holes in the unit. The Steelers defensive line is a dominant force with the ability to control the trenches. The Steelers are a pass rushing machine with the ability to create havoc in the pocket. The most vulnerable part of the Steelers defense is the secondary, but that unit is not too shabby either. Kizer will have to pray that the Steelers decide to sit some of their defensive stars because it could be a long day for the rookie.
Likelihood of a Win
15%. It would be 0% if it was a game midway through the season. But, the Browns likelihood of a win is much better if Pittsburgh has nothing to play for. This could lead to the Steelers sitting some of the starters. But on the road, it is still a tough task against Pittsburgh.
The Browns will lose this game. It will not matter if the Steelers sit some of their starters. The Browns offense is just not good enough to score against the Steelers.