Browns Game by Game Predictions

Nikki Adams

Monday, July 21, 2014 6:38 AM UTC

Monday, Jul. 21, 2014 6:38 AM UTC

Cleveland Browns have made some key changes in the offseason that could make them a bankable pick in NFL betting markets. Are those changes enough to push win totals beyond last season’s disappointing 4-12 mark, which saw them prop up the AFC North? Let’s find out as we peruse through their NFL 2014-2015 schedule.

Cleveland Browns Sure to be Challenged
A competitive looking Cleveland Browns assembled during the offseason, from new coach to good defense, augmented run game and potentially Heisman Trophy winner Johnny “Football” Manziel starting at quarterback. Are these additions and changes enough to deliver on the long-overdue task to deliver a winning season for the first time since 2007? To put it another way: is the year the Browns become competitive in the AFC North?

NFL schedulers have served up challenging program, but optimistic projections have the Browns possibly surpassing the 6.5 line chalked by bookies for regular season wins. Let’s find out if that is a realistic mark or wishful thinking as we rundown through the schedule.


Keep in Mind
These early regular season win predictions are not actual bets. Short of a crystal ball, we can’t possibly know with any certainty the outcome of these games. Games are won on the field and not on paper. So don’t go betting the farm on what are essentially just our best guesstimates, if you will, at this early vantage point.


Week 1 @ Pittsburgh
Cleveland Browns are set to debut their new look in Pittsburgh, marking the start of the NFL 2014-2015 campaign. The Browns lost both games to the Steelers last season badly – 27-11 and 20-7. They have been built up to be more competitive, precisely for such divisional clashes. The fact that rookie quarterback Johnny “Football” Manziel might start against a competent Steelers, swings the balance in favour of the hosts however. 
NFL Pick: Loss


Week 2 vs. New Orleans
The Saints are coming off an 11-5 season and a playoff run, albeit short lived. There’s a lot to like about the Saints this season, specifically, Drew Brees, who is playing some of the best football in his prime. It would be quite something if the Browns could deny the Saints a road win. Saints went 3-5 on the road last season, which gives cautious optimists encouragement. Yet, once again, it’s hard to overlook the potential rookie factor, which must swing the balance in favour of the visitors.
NFL Pick: Loss


Week 3 vs. Baltimore
Baltimore Ravens don’t travel all that well. Last season, they went 2-6 on the road (8-8 overall), a significant drop from a 4-4 marks on the road in back-to-back seasons (2011-2012). Of all the so-called playoff contenders in NFL betting markets, the Ravens (chalked at 8.5 in regular season wins) would appear to be beatable on the road. Offensive issues are at the crux of the matter, issues that haven’t seen much improvement over the offseason and that has some believing a home win here is possible. Then again, it’s still early days in the new season and a tough schedule to begin with, all of which could prove Johnny Football’s inexperience the factor to a Browns defeat.
NFL Pick: Loss


Week 4: Bye


Week 5 @ Tennessee
Cleveland Browns have a real shot at the road win against the Titans because a) Titans were a disappointing 3-5 at home, and b) Jake Locker is a question mark going into the season. It remains to be seen what form he’ll enjoy. Nevertheless, the Browns defense could make his head spin.
NFL Pick: Win


Week 6 vs. Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Steelers have a favourable record against the Browns, including a series sweep on the last season. On paper, they are far superior to Browns, something that should be revealed in no uncertain terms on the field.
NFL Pick: Loss


Week 7 @ Jacksonville
These two sides would appear to be well matched. Both have enjoyed similar fortunes in the NFL lately, prompting declining faith in NFL betting circles. On the plus side, both have made significant improvements in the lead up to the new season and are behind a promising offseason. However, which side’s changes will evolve better? It cuts both ways: the Browns could roll into town and take the win or the Jaguars could outlast the Browns. In lieu of an alternative tiebreaker to home advantage, we’re giving this one to the home side.
NFL Pick: Loss


Week 8 vs. Oakland
Does signing Matt Schaub mean the Raiders (4-12 last season) have lost the plot. If Schaub’s 2013 season with the Texans (2-14 last season) were any indication, the answer could be a resounding yes. Home field advantage and the Raiders’ dubious quarterback suggest this game is there for the taking.
NFL Pick: Win


Week 9 vs. Tampa Bay
Buccaneers are rebuilding, not unlike the Browns. Change takes time but the NFL schedule waits for nobody. This should be an interesting clash between two sides in full rebuild mould. It cuts both ways, but if the Browns defence lives up to expectations, Josh McCown could have a tough day.
NFL Pick: Win


Week 10 @ Cincinnati
The Bengals went 11-5 last season, which included a perfect 8-0 record at home and a 3-5 record on the road. Beating the Bengals at home therefore is going to be a tough ask for the largely inexperienced Browns.
NFL Pick: Loss


Week 11 vs. Houston
The Texans had the worst output in the league, winning just two of their 16 games on the season. A much better Texans is expected to emerge on the new season, but it’s still uncertain as to how much better they’ll be. Based on last season’s output, it would appear to be a winnable game for the Browns.
NFL Pick: Win


Week 12 @ Atlanta
Atlanta Falcons finished the season with a 4-12 mark, exactly the same mark achieved by the Browns. Unlike the Browns, however, theirs was a fall from grace after finishing the 2012 season atop the NFC South behind a 13-3 mark. Falcons are looking to turnaround their season, but odds makers don’t appear entirely convinced big change is on the horizon, as they favour the Under 8.5 chalk line at -140. It really depends on which Falcons side emerges this season, the one that set the bar high in 2012 or the one that was hugely disappointing in 2013. In the case of the former, the Browns would be hard pressed to win on the road. The latter is another matter entirely. For our money, we’re going with the former.
NFL Pick: Loss


Week 13 @ Buffalo
This should be an intriguing clash as former Bills’ defensive coordinator Mike Pettine returns to his old stomping grounds as the new head coach in Cleveland. It’s hard to gauge the impact such an intangible will have on the outcome of this match alone, but it should send them into this clash motivated. That and a solid Browns defense harassing EJ Manuel who has yet to tap into his full potential could deliver a Browns road win.
NFL Pick: Win


Week 14 vs. Indianapolis
This game presents as a great benchmark for the Cleveland Browns, against which they can measure all the changes they’ve made this season and their merit. Andrew Luck and Company will be hard to beat, despite an aggressive-minded defense and improved-offense.
NFL Pick: Loss


Week 15 vs. Cincinnati
Cincinnati Bengals reached the playoffs last season, largely down to an unbeaten home record. On the road, they blew hot and cold, finishing 3-5 on the season. If that trend holds true, the Browns could get a narrow win against on the league’s elite. The Browns did beat the Bengals 17-6 at home last season, so it’s not improbable to do so again.
NFL Pick: Win


Week 16 @ Carolina
Last season, Cam Newton delivered on his promise by leading the Panthers to a 12-4 finish and a playoffs run where they were dismissed by the San Francisco 49ers 23-10. If Newton and the Panthers have another standout season, pick up from where they left off, it’s going to be a tough game for the Browns, not to mention on the road. Unless the Panthers take a serious step backwards, they should beat the Browns handily.
NFL Pick: Loss


Week 17 @ Baltimore
For all their problems on the road, the Ravens take care of business at home: they’ve only lost four home games in the last three seasons. In 2011, they were a perfect 8-0 at home and 6-2 in the ensuing two seasons. It’s hard to imagine the Browns therefore rolling into town to take the road win.

NFL Pick: Loss


NFL Betting Verdict
If we tot up our above predictions, we come up with a 6-10 mark on the season or a range with a low of 5-11  to a high of 7-9 (taking into consideration some of the tossups that cut both ways). Odds makers favour the Browns to go Over 6.5 at -150, but by our estimation, which has them dipping slightly below that chalk line, the value NFL pick might be to take the Under at +140 odds. You decide. As we said above, this isn’t the gospel. 

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