You don’t need to be reminded that The Browns last made a playoff appearance in 2002.
The second-longest playoff-less drought across all four major US professional sports, only ‘bettered’ by MLB side, Seattle Mariners, has seen the Browns the butt of many a joke for too long.
But The Browns have posted their best start to a season since 1994 and appear to be in with a genuine shot of ending their woeful record. Are we about to see a change in fortune for an NFL side and set of fans used to that deflated feeling?
Let’s discuss and predict how the Browns may fare this year.
A team in harmony boasting a 4-1 record. There’s not a part of that sentence you’d normally associate with the Browns. Something certainly feels different this year.
Despite a lack of preparation Kevin Stefanski and Andrew Berry seem to have this bunch of players very much united and singing from the same hymn sheet.
Looking at the schedule before the season got underway, you would’ve had the Browns at 2-3, or, 3-2 at best. Instead, they’re on course to record a first winning record since 2007 and only have to 6-5 for a 10-6 season.
Balancing excitement with realism
The team clearly has momentum, which is an odd feeling for Browns fans who know all too well how quickly things can turn.
2014 under Mike Pettine is a prime example of how a team can flatter to ultimately deceive. 7-4 very quickly became 7-9 that year and serves as a gentle reminder to not get too ahead of ourselves just yet.
It’s also perhaps why, despite the positive start, the odds for the Browns to win under 10 games this year is still the favored option among the leading US sportsbooks.
New format could boost Browns
Perhaps a team no longer needs to win 10 games to reach the playoffs, however.
The adjustment to the playoff format this year that’ll see two teams added to the traditional 12-team postseason is an extra boost for the Browns – a 9-7 record could be good enough, for instance.
The new format, together with the early season promise means the Browns, at this stage, are viewed as more likely (-250) to make the playoffs than not (+200) come the turn of the year, according to 888sport, the betting site who know more than a thing or two about NFL betting as this 888sport review proves.
So will the Browns actually make the playoffs?
Well, the outcome of the upcoming away game with the Steelers will tell us a bit more about the true capabilities of this team and the real season objectives.
But if the early season form really is no fluke then, maybe, just maybe we can start believing the Browns will end eighteen years of ridicule.
NEO Sports Insiders Newsletter
Sign up to receive our NEOSI newsletter, and keep up to date with all the latest Cleveland sports news.