Cleveland Browns: Brewing up some bold predictions for 2018

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 08: Duke Johnson #29 of the Cleveland Browns runs with the ball in the game against New York Jets at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 8, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 08: Duke Johnson #29 of the Cleveland Browns runs with the ball in the game against New York Jets at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 8, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Fans generally have an idea of what to expect an upcoming season to offer. In 2018 however, expectations for the Cleveland Browns are anyone’s guess. Here are a few bold predictions to sip on.

As the Cleveland Browns progress through their offseason programs, fans eagerly anticipate the start if the 2018 season. Optimism is up and the potential for success is abundant, yet lingering ghosts of yesteryear cast a large shadow of doubt across Believeland.

General manager John Dorsey has remodelled the franchise with an extensive clearing house. The roster that will take the field looks greatly improved statistically, yet the players must prove themselves individually and bond as a team.

I offer two sets of predictions. The bold, and the not so bold. We start with the latter of the two sets.

Not so bold predictions:

On second thought, what is the point of a not so bold prediction? I could offer reasonable expectations of a 6-10 mark on the season and a few complementary thoughts to accompany it, but I’d rather not waste our time with concepts likely to be widespread within the media in the upcoming weeks.

Let us move on to the good stuff. Much like my coffee, found bubbling away in my percolator each morning, I like it bold. Also like my cowboy-coffee, the last sip of of this particular brew may surprise you with a mouthful of figurative grounds, likely too thick and chewy for most of you to stomach.

Bold predictions:

An 0-2 start to the season will result in Tyrod Taylor being traded or benched by week three, allowing Baker Mayfield to take the reigns. Despite the 0-2 start, the Cleveland Browns will finish the season with a remarkably improved record of 10-6.

More from NFL Spin Zone

Said 10-6 season will also allow a playoff berth as a wild card, although the first postseason since 2002 will be short-lived, with the Browns losing on Wild Card Weekend.

In divisional games, the Cleveland Browns will find victory in Pittsburgh for the first time since October of 2003. Although a close loss at home to the Steelers will prevent a sweep, they will sweep the Baltimore Ravens outright and drop both to a mediocre Bengals team.

Myles Garrett will collect double-digit sacks. Although the boldness is lacking here, I will allow it to perk until we reach a nice, aromatic and full-flavored 15 of them. It just occurred to me that referencing coffee results in a craving of it. I will attempt to ground myself and filter my coffee-related analogies.

The 1985 season for the Cleveland Browns yielded a remarkable 2,000 yards rushing by the tandem of Kevin Mack and Earnest Byner, with each reaching the 1,000-yard mark. Although Carlos Hyde and Nick Chubb will fall short of those accomplishments, the trio of Hyde, Chubb and Duke Johnson will surpass 2,000 all-purpose yards.

Josh Gordon will complete the entire season without issue and return to the Pro Bowl as the league leader in receiving yardage. Many of you might agree that the boldness here is the completion of the season more so than the league-leading yardage.

Baker Mayfield will be in the running for Offensive Rookie of the Year, but not win. Fellow first-rounder Denzel Ward, however, will prove the Bradley-Chubb-naysayers wrong and claim the title of Defensive Rookie of the Year.

I now offer the boldest of my predictions and the final sip of this bold brew. I advise you find a nice hot-seat to perch yourself upon. The aforementioned 10-6 record will lead to fan un-favorite, Hue Jackson, being named Coach of the Year.

You may be considering the distinct possibility that I have either added a little something even bolder to my own coffee, or that I am simply a backwoods-idjit (yes that is the proper spelling in these parts). The latter may hold some truth, looking back.

Next: NFL 2018: Ranking the 50 best pass rushers

Truth be told, I have not fallen off my rocker and I am completely aware that these bold predictions are astronomically unlikely. If any do in fact come to pass, expect to see a follow-up of pride-filled gloating. It is safe to say that if these events indeed play out as described, you will all be more than happy to drink it up.

The expectations for 2018 are anything but predictable. Our Cleveland Browns could just as easily flip the script and head into 2019 with a new head coach, get swept within the division once more, and see Josh Gordon roll one off in the sunset. For now all we can do is slurp up the optimism and hope it does not prove too bitter to consume beyond week one of the 2018 NFL season.