It Ain’t Easy Being Brown: Will Cleveland Go 0-16 This Season?

The Cleveland Browns are bad. This is not news. They have been awful for years. There has been a rotating cast of front office people, head coaches, and quarterbacks, but the results have always been the same. Last season, Cleveland went 1-15. This year they might even be worse. That’s right, the currently winless Browns could end up going 0-16, becoming the second team to ever do that (shout out to the Detroit Lions).

Sure, they won all four of their preseason game, but those aforementioned winless Lions did the same thing in 2008, the year they failed to win a single game that matters. So, will the 2017 Cleveland Browns live on forever in infamy? Let’s go through the rest of their schedule to gauge their odds of emerging victorious.

This week Cleveland is on a bye, so at least their fans will get a respite. That also gives them another week to prepare for their next game. Unfortunately, that game is on the road against the Lions. Detroit certainly would like to have some company in the world of 0-16. It’s a little hard to assess how good the Lions are, but they are definitely better than Cleveland. It’s hard to see the Browns getting their first win on the road.

At home against Jacksonville? Before the year that may have seemed winnable. Now the Jags are in the mix for the AFC South title. Jacksonville has a great pass defense, and a mediocre run defense, but the Browns don’t have the talent to take advantage of that. If the Jags decide to let Blake Bortles air it out, the Browns might pull off an upset. That seems unlikely though. Still, spoiler alert, this is their best chance to pick up a win.

Then the Browns visit the Bengals. Earlier this season these two teams squared off in Cleveland. Cincinnati won 31-7. Yeah, this probably isn’t going to turn out well for the Browns.

Following that, Cleveland visits the Chargers in Los Angeles. Hey, did you remember that the Chargers moved? There have been a lot of jokes about Chargers fans being outnumbered in their new stadium. That probably isn’t going to happen for this one. Instead, maybe nobody will show up. The Chargers caught a bunch of bad luck to start the season when they lost their first four games. Despite being 3-5 they have a minus-2 point differential. They are a middle-of-the-road team, and the Browns aren’t.

Before the season, a game against the Packers would have seemed like a definite loss for the Browns. Then, Aaron Rodgers got hurt. Now it seems like Cleveland will get the Brett Hundley-led Packers at home. We haven’t seen Hundley play a lot, but what we have seen hasn’t been great. If Hundley doesn’t get better by this game in December, things could be interesting. Imagine if Cleveland’s one win comes against Green Bay of all teams.

Then we have the Ravens, who the Browns will host in Cleveland. These two teams played in Baltimore earlier this year, and the Ravens won 24-10. That’s far from a blowout, and the Ravens do have problems offensively, because Joe Flacco is their quarterback. Their defense has been stout, though, and the Ravens have already pitched two shutouts. This will likely be a low-scoring (and boring) game, but Baltimore should end up winning.

In the penultimate contest, the Browns visit the Bears. Chicago was almost as bad as the Browns last season, and their offense has struggled. Then again, the Bears have three wins, and they have been against the Steelers, Ravens, and Panthers. Those are three teams much better than the Browns. If this game was in Cleveland, the Browns might have a chance. In Chicago, it will likely be a different story.

If the Browns want to win, they better do it before the last week of the season, because there they are on the road against the Steelers. Granted, in the season opener the Browns almost pulled off the upset before falling 21-18. That was a fluke, though. The Steelers have looked much better sense, and are definitely the better team. The Browns had their chance to beat Pittsburgh, and they didn’t manage to do it.

So yes, it seems like there is a great chance of the Browns going 0-16. There are three potential wins left: Home against Jacksonville, home against the Fighting Hundleys of Green Bay, and on the road against Chicago. However, they aren’t favorites in any of those games. That being said, there is a reason only one team ever has gone 0-16. If the Browns get the bounces in one of those games, they will end up winning. That’s probably the likeliest outcome. Cleveland gets lucky in one of those three games and end up going 1-15 for the second season in a row. Hey, it beats 0-16.