1. The Video Game Team- The Browns roster is stacked in a way that on paper, they should win every game. After adding Odell, John Dorsey had assembled a division favorite in just two years. That’s only done in video games. If the video game scenario plays out: The Browns will go 12-4, see thousand-yard seasons from Odell, Jarvis and Chubb, and witness Baker throw close to 45 touchdowns.
2. The Blow Up- The Browns have a lot of moving pieces—new coach, new receiver (that was previously labeled a diva), increased media coverage and sky-high expectations. It’s possible that two out of four of these new changes won’t go well. How the Browns handle that is what will decide the season. Odell could cause problems; Freddie Kitchens might not be a good coach; the winning may not come right away; the season might be lost. Envisioning all this happening is negative, but if this is the season the Browns have, then it’s worth getting ready for.
3. Defensive Stepchild- While the Browns made a slew of highlight reel defensive plays last season, forced turnovers can be deceiving. ESPN rankings showed that the Browns had the 30th best defense, giving up just under 25 points per game. Defensive Coordinator Greg Williams ran blitz after blitz in a highly criticized defensive scheme for two years. But he has moved on now. Joe Schobert and Christian Kirksey may rack up tackles, but many skip over the high number of missed tackles attributed to the two. The defensive line is better, and everyone is healthy. The team also has familiarity. It’s time the defense helps this hype-machine move.
4. The Little Things add up- As the Browns enter the season, there are always aspects of the game that aren’t factored into the big picture. Minor problems lead to losses and a failed season. A scenario might come up involving the Browns’ rookie special teams struggling, injuries adding up or one offensive line spot not being filled correctly. Why worry about right guard? A rookie kicker? Possible injury? You don’t have to… until you do.
5. Mediocrity? - It’s extremely difficult to win in the NFL. The idea that Cleveland could have a mediocre year has aspects of the little things adding up. The Browns may battle as hard as they can and still finish 8-8 because that’s the NFL. The term “Any given Sunday” holds a true meaning in that any team could win or lose once a week on any given day. Maybe the Browns are ready, or maybe the other team is even more ready and prevails instead. Only time can tell what this season holds.