Cleveland Browns 2022 preview: Over or under projected win total of 8.5?

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, right, greets quarterback Joshua Dobbs before last Sunday's preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, right, greets quarterback Joshua Dobbs before last Sunday's preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

CLEVELAND BROWNS

2021 record: 8-9

2022 bye week: 9

Most impactful additions: QB Deshaun Watson, WR Amari Cooper, QB Jacoby Brissett, WR David Bell (third round), K Cade York (fourth round out of LSU)

Most impactful departures: QB Baker Mayfield, WR Jarvis Landry, TE Austin Hooper

Easiest part(s) of schedule: I have said this multiple times, but the NFL did the Browns a huge favor by putting the most winnable games in the first four weeks of the season. It’s almost as if they knew some star player was going to miss some time. Hmmmmm.

Anyhoo, even with Brissett at quarterback, this team easily could open 4-0 by defeating Carolina, the Jets, Pittsburgh and Atlanta before a Week 5 game at home against the Chargers.

With Watson returning the week after Thanksgiving, the end of the season is very doable, as well, with games at Houston (Dec. 4), at Washington (New Year’s Day) and the finale at Pittsburgh.

Toughest part(s) of schedule: Realistically, without Watson, Weeks 5 through 8 will not be easy. Hosting the Chargers and Patriots before going to Baltimore and coming back home for Cincinnati could be a pivotal spot.

Then in Weeks 11 and 12, the Browns travel to Buffalo and host Tampa Bay before his return.

Caesars over/under win total (as of Aug. 24): 8.5 – Over +130 / Under -150; Odds to win Super Bowl LVII +3500

Book it: For most of the summer, there was no win total here due to the uncertainty of Watson, which is no longer in doubt. That being said, sorry, but there is too much going on with this team to find any value anywhere. Despite the fact there is as much talent on this roster as any other in the division – and almost as much as any team in the NFL – the constant circus has to take its toll.

That, and the fact Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt have both missed significant playing time with injuries throughout their careers. (Hunt has only played in more than 11 games in a season twice in five years.)

Also, signing Cooper is a huge addition, but the overall receiving corps is mediocre at best with No. 2 Donovan Peoples-Jones and the rookie, Bell.

If I had to make a stand one way or the other, I would take the over (some might actually think there’s value there), but no professional bettor likes uncertainty. Believe it or not, I actually listen to them sometimes!

Stay away from the Browns, and while that easy start will help them finish with a winning record, by the time the season is over, they’ll either be a bottom wild card or just missing the playoffs – again.

Projected finish: 9-8

Categories: Upstate Action

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