Yeah, it is not super likely. But it could happen. The Cleveland Browns are known for nothing more than failure, and would not be a team that you’d expect to go 16-0. A franchise expected to win about four games this year is not one that many people expect to go undefeated. I know all that. Just hear me out.
I watched every Browns game season last year. Every single one. I am going to do the same this year. My friend saw a fake account on Twitter on draft night saying the Browns traded for Kirk Cousins. He told me the Browns finally had their quarterback. I cried a little bit. So I know this Browns team. The team has some real talent, and if you disagree, well you either don’t follow the sport as much as you think, or you just don’t understand football. There has been a lot of turnover from that god-awful 2016 season.
The team has not lost a game in the 2017 season, and I am here to tell you why that trend may continue.
Week 1 — against those damn Steelers — at home. If (and when) the Browns win the season opener for the first time since 2004, I will not wear clothes for a week. Sorry for the mental image, folks, but I will be just other-worldly excited. That will start a movement. The city will really take notice. It is the perfect way to start the season if you want something special to happen.
And hey, they do not play the Patriots, whom nobody wants to play.
In the division, the competition has the potential to be much worse than expected. Baltimore has not made noise in years, Cincinnati had an awful 2016 and Pittsburgh has a rapidly aging roster. Cleveland also plays the AFC South, where there are no outstanding teams. And yes, the Browns play the NFC North which has the Packers and Vikings, but Cleveland is the home team in both of those matchups. The other two teams the Browns play are the Jets and Jaguars, both very beatable opponents.
The Browns are young, but are bursting with potential. Starting on offense, the quarterback position has some real intrigue. Deshone Kizer has looked promising and has stayed out of the news. Isaiah Crowell is in a contract year and headlines a great duo alongside Duke Johnson. Kenny Britt and Corey Coleman both have the talent to be a number one receiver, but are yet to put together a season like it. Sammie Coates adds a lethal deep threat for Kizer’s big arm. Tight end David Njoku may be raw, but is uber-talented. The line is revamped, and looks like one of the best in the conference, with the exception of right tackle.
There is similar excitement defensively. The front four is lead by one of the best prospects in recent memory, Myles Garrett. More players on rookie contracts that provide plenty of reason for excitement include: Danny Shelton, Emmanuel Ogbah, Carl Nassib, Nate Orchard, Larry Ogunjobi and Caleb Brantley. Jamie Collins and Christian Kirksey work very well together, and Joe Schobert on the outside provides upside and athleticism.
The defensive backs are perhaps the weakest unit on the team, but are still littered with players with upside. Jamar Taylor really impressed me in year one, and showed number-one-cornerback potential. Briean Boddy-Calhoun and Jason McCourty make up a serviceable 2-3 punch for the corners. Jabrill Peppers has work to do but he’s already won me over, and alongside Calvin Pryor and Ibraheim Campbell, the safeties will be an improved unit (which is not saying much).
Nobody believes in them. Simply saying this team has a ‘chip on it’s shoulder’ is an understatement. The team seems incredibly committed to being the group that turns things around. They have grown and will continue to grow as a unit, and seem like they have their collective head on straight, something rarely replicated at the edge of Lake Erie.
And if this team starts to win, the fan reaction will be fun to watch. An entire city will be rallying around the team like nearly no other. Trust me when I say this, if this team is playing well late into the year, the crowds will be deafeningly loud. This team has that ‘It factor’ to accomplish something special this year.