The Cleveland Browns have had just two winning seasons since their return and rebirth in 1999. Quarterback continues to be a pressing issue and the organization has seen yet another regime change. But, as each new year comes, the hope continues of the orange-and-brown faithful to get back to proud football and bring back the memories they once had a long time ago. Here is my prediction on what 2013 holds for the franchise.
9/8 Miami Dolphins: WIN! With help from special teams and Trent Richardson, the Josh Gordon-less Browns prevail. Ray Horton‘s new attacking defense sacks Ryan Tannehill five times. Final: 17-9
9/15 @Baltimore Ravens: LOSS! Richardson is held in check and Joe Flacco lights up inexperienced Cleveland secondary. Ray Rice has 150+ all-purpose yards. Final: 24-14
9/22 @Minnesota Vikings: LOSS! Adrian Peterson scores twice and Vikings D forces two turnovers. Browns battle, but lose on a last minute field goal by Blair Walsh. Final: 20-17
9/29 Cincinnati Bengals: WIN! Like last year, Richardson finds end zone twice and Gordon has first great game of season. Brandon Weeden vs. Andy Dalton turns into a shootout. Final: 29-27
10/3 Buffalo Bills: WIN! On a brisk day, Weeden throws for 350+ yards and three touchdowns on NFL Network. EJ Manuel can never get it going and CJ Spiller is the only offense for the Bills. Final: 30-13
10/13: Detroit Lions: LOSS! Matthew Stafford follows Flacco’s lead from game two and lights up Browns young secondary. Josh Aubrey makes start for an injured TJ Ward. Final: 31-16
10/20: @Green Bay Packers: LOSS! Taking a .500 record into Lambeau, the Browns hopes are smashed by the end of the third quarter. A fast paced Aaron Rodgers-led offense is too much for Browns defense to comprehend. Final: 35-17
10/27: @Kansas City Chiefs: WIN! Weeden has his second 350+yard game of the season. Browns come from behind on the road after going down 13-0. Joe Haden’s interception of Alex Smith swings the momentum to the good guys. Final: 26-20
11/3: Baltimore Ravens: WIN! By luck, the Ravens are without Rice for this game. Missing Rice puts Ravens offense off-kilter. Browns ride T-Rich to a victory. Final: 17-14
11/10: BYE Week – Browns are 5-4
11/17: @Cincinnati Bengals: LOSS! Bengals get revenge. Dalton does just enough more than Weeden. Horton’s secondary has tough time adjusting. Final: 19-13
11/24: Pittsburgh Steelers: WIN! Coach Rob Chudzinski stresses the importance of this game to his players all week and they get “it”. In front of a fired up First Energy Stadium crowd sprinkled with front running yellow towels, Barkevious Mingo sacks Ben Roethlisberger twice including a forced fumble that leads to points. Haden seals game on tipped interception. Final: 21-17
12/8: @New England Patriots: LOSS! Back to reality. Tom Brady, Stevan Ridley, Danny Amendola, and company destroy Browns at Gillette Stadium. Bill Belichick schools rookie head coach Chudzinski. Final: 34-12
12/15: Chicago Bears: LOSS! In front of bitter cold home crowd, Browns fight till very end. Billy Cundiff is not Phil Dawson in cold weather. Behind great kicking by Robbie Gould, the Bears take down the Browns in overtime. Final: 22-19
12/22: @New York Jets: WIN! Browns look very flat, but the missing identity Jets look worse. An ugly victory in the Meadowlands led by a feisty Browns defense. Final: 13-6
12/29 @Pittsburgh Steelers: LOSS! On the verge of having the first winning season in six years, the Steelers steal one from Cleveland because of a controversial fourth quarter call. Roethlisberger is injured in this game. Final: 18-13
While these are some bold and fun predictions, are they realistic? The answer awaits four months from now. After going through miserable and sometimes un-watchable seasons, would Browns fans take an 8-8 record? By winning just three more games than they normally do, does that constitute a successful season? We will soon find out.
Ryan Ruiz is the Cleveland Browns Beat Writer for The Inscriber: Digital Magazine. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @ryanpruiz24. Ryan is also a Cleveland Browns Correspondent for The SportsFix. Tune in every Friday at noon on www.thesportfix.net.