After falling to the Denver Broncos last week 19-24, the Cleveland Browns find themselves with a disappointing 2-6 record.
In past seasons, this might be considered a “good season” in Cleveland. This year, however, the perception of this team was dramatically different heading into the season. In what was undoubtedly the most-hyped season in recent memory, Cleveland managed to turn the hype into another disappointment.
“Believeland” is aptly named, however, and the Browns are not going to give up that easily.
Here are five reasons the Cleveland Browns can (and will) still make the playoffs in 2019.
1. They Are Only Three Games Back in the Wild Card Race
Being three games back in the Wild Card race with just half the season to go is not an ideal situation. However, it is also not an impossible feat.
A 10-6 record will be good enough to get a Wild Card spot in the AFC with the way things seem to be panning out right now. A 9-7 record might not make the cut, but it is also possible that the Browns could lose one more game and still have a snowball’s chance in hell of reaching the playoffs.
More likely than not, the Browns will need to win every game for the remainder of the season, but just like any other sport, take it one game at a time. You can only control your own destiny at this point, and it all starts with a win against the Buffalo Bills this Sunday.
2. Kareem Hunt Is Back
Nick Chubb has been an excellent running back for the Browns this season. After eight games, Chubb amassed 803 rushing yards and 161 receiving yards. His 5.2 yards per carry is one of the highest in the league.
Give this Browns’ offense a two-headed monster in the backfield, and the sky is the limit. Kareem Hunt is now eligible to return after an eight-game suspension, and he is expected to hop into the mix right away.
Hunt was one of the best running backs in the league over the past two seasons before his offseason issues. Seeing how good he did with the Kansas City Chiefs’ offense, which used a committee backfield, should indicate just how good Hunt is.
Chubb and Hunt have the potential to be one of the best 1-2 punches in the league, and their ability to have two elite running backs should take some of the pressure off of Baker Mayfield.
Kitchens: "I think Kareem's ready to play."
— Andrew Gribble (@Andrew_Gribble) November 6, 2019
3. The Talent Is There
Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb, and Myles Garrett; this Browns’ team certainly has the talent to win games. The preseason hype existed for a reason, but they just haven’t lived up to expectations yet.
In college basketball, a lot of the country’s top freshmen get thrown together on one team, and it usually takes them some time to gel together and actually play up to their potential. The same could be said about this team. It is hard to throw all of these new pieces together and expect immediate success.
Now that Cleveland has half of a season under its belt, it should only get better. The Browns are the type of team that should get better as the season goes on. That should scare the rest of the NFL.
4. Their Schedule Is Easy
After starting the season with a tough schedule that featured the Los Angeles Rams, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, and New England Patriots, the Browns’ second-half schedule gets a lot easier.
Their first eight opponents currently have a record of 42-26. Their next eight have a combined record of 24-40-1. Aside from having to play the Ravens again, the Browns’ schedule is very favorable.
Two matchups against both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals make up half of their remaining games. Add in the Miami Dolphins and the Arizona Cardinals, and the Browns very well could go on an 8-0 run to end the season.
5. They Are Starting To Clean It Up
The Browns were among the worst in the league in both categories entering their last game.
As long as the Browns can stop shooting themselves in the feet, they should be able to put some wins on the board.
Three of their six losses are by one possession. Once they cut out all of the mistakes, this team’s true potential will shine through.