Could the Cleveland Browns Go from Winless to Playoffs?
Big roster upgrades could mark 2018 as a turnaround year for the hapless franchise.
The last time the Browns made the playoffs, George W. Bush was still president—and still in his first term.
Sad as it is, that 2002 postseason appearance was the most recent high-water mark for a Cleveland franchise that has won four NFL championships but went 0-for-2017.
But thanks to new starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor, new backup (and potential starting) quarterback, number-one-overall draft pick Baker Mayfield, and a number of other key additions, the Browns have a decent chance to go from winless to wildcard team in 2018.
Taylor is the opposite of a turnover machine so, even if he fails to generate scores, he won’t be giving up the ball—leading to opponent points—the way DeShone Kizer did for Cleveland last year. And even if Mayfield overtakes Taylor, whoever is playing QB will be aided by Cleveland’s top-10 offensive line and a plethora of other offensive playmakers.
The Browns have also greatly improved their secondary, by adding cornerbacks E.J. Gaines and TJ Carrie in free agency and then drafting another CB, Denzel Ward out of Ohio State, with the fourth overall pick.
Also helping the Browns is that the AFC, and their division especially, is weak. They won’t pass Pittsburgh, but overtaking Baltimore and Cincinnati in the AFC North is now a realistic goal.
“The Browns are probably still one good offseason away from contending in the AFC and are best viewed as a seven- or eight-win team in 2018,” according to ESPN. “Of course, the season is short and variance and luck will have a say. If the Browns get a good bounce or two and stay relatively healthy, a nine-win season is attainable.”
So, hope might finally give way to reality alongside Lake Erie in 2018, since last season both the Titans and Bills made the AFC playoffs with 9-7 records.
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