WZIP’s Browns 2018 Season Predictions

The Cleveland Browns made plenty of moves during their off-season and in the 2018 Draft. With one win in the past 32 games, you pretty much have to. But how will this season be different than the last two, or are they destined to repeat their failures? The WZIP Sports Department has their predictions for how the 2018-2019 Browns season will unfold:

John Alfieri 

Record: 4-12
MVP: Myles Garrett
Between Hardknocks and the the new faces in town, the Cleveland Browns are poised to be a new and improved team with a lot of potential. Free agent additions Jarvis Landry, Tyrod Taylor, and Demarious Randall will be a bright spot in the Browns season campaign. Two big questions I am curious about are; When will we see Baker Mayfield on the field? And Will Hue Jackson be in Cleveland the whole season and possibly next year?
Baker Mayfield, the number one overall pick, impressed a lot of coaches in the preseason. His skill set is very impressive and his winning mentality is something you just can’t teach. The issue with Baker is at times he rushes throws and looks not ready to compete at the NFL level right now. He’s a project. I believe if the Browns are under 3 wins by week 8, we will see Baker under center. Browns fans shouldn’t expect to see him though if Tyrod is leading the Browns to wins.

Hue Jackson is on the hottest seat any coach in the league has ever been on. Many argue he shouldn’t still have his job but obviously the Browns still believe in him. However I feel that if the Browns don’t make the playoffs (obviously a long shot) the Browns will be moving on from Hue. The good news? The Browns have two head coaching candidates on their staff already in Greg Williams and Todd Haley. Don’t be surprised if they are calling the shots next year.

Zach Bush

I’m predicting the Browns to go 6-10. Hue Jackson will be on the hot seat for the entire season, but he’ll make it to the end without getting fired. Tyrod will play fine, but he’ll get a concussion or something and miss a week. Baker will start that game and play well, but Hue will put Tyrod back in the following week. It will be a controversy for the rest of the year. Josh Gordon will play near a full year for the first time since 2013, but his numbers won’t be as good as they were then. Jarvis Landry will have a great first year in Cleveland, and Myles Garrett will have a solid second year.

*Actually, forget what I said about Hue Jackson. I thought about it some more, and I think he will get fired. I see the Browns losing four straight games in November/December, the last of which coming December 9th against Carolina. I think he’ll get fired after losing that game, and either Haley or Williams will take over for the rest of the year.

Savannah Griggs

For the 2018 football season I believe the browns will be 8-8. Tyrod Taylor will be QB1 however, I believe Baker Mayfield will have an outstanding rookie season and he will start at least 2 games in the season more than likely towards the end of the year. This season my breakout players are David Njoku and Carlos Hyde. Hue Jackson will coach the entire season. Finally our MVP will be Myles Garrett.

Isaiah Houde

I am predicting that the Browns will end the season with a 6-10 record. This team is on a path for a better future, but I still do not believe that the culture and the losing ways have ultimately been reversed. Winning six games is a huge increase from winning zero last year, and I believe that the consistency of Tyrod Taylor will take them there. I believe that Tyrod will start the whole season, and Baker Mayfield will learn what it takes to be a quarterback in the NFL. The defense will improve by leaps and bounds in my opinion because of the changing culture, and the talent that is present.

I do not believe that the team will make it to the playoffs this year, but I feel that the Browns will be there soon. They could possibly be a playoff team by next season if they can flip the culture around and bring winning spirits into the organization. Josh Gordon and Jarvis Landry will play a huge role in that.

Cami Justice

My heart is telling me the Browns will win six games this year. My brain is telling me it will actually be four. I think Tyrod Taylor should, and will start for most, if not all of the season. A minor injury that could displace him from his starting role for a game or two would be the only scenario in which Baker Mayfield starts over Tyrod. The Browns defense should prove to look as incredible on the field as they look on paper. Myles Garrett will be the Browns MVP this season without a doubt. Offensively, the Browns should do better than they have in a very long time. With talent like Jarvis Landry and Josh Gordon, the Browns passing game should be fierce. Their running game could also be explosive so long as everyone lives up to their potential. With  David Njoku, Duke Johnson, and Ohio native Carlos Hyde at Tyrod’s disposal the Browns should have a lot of success running the ball.

As for head coach Hue Jackson, well, I think he better work harder than he ever has in his life if he wants to maintain his position with the Browns. If Jackson loses three to four consecutive games with no wins this season I think he’ll be fired immediately. If he doesn’t win at least 4 games I think he’ll be fired at the end of the season. All eyes are on him right now as he sits in the hot seat. If he pulls off some wins and early on, Hue will stick around.

My heart and my brain tell me two slightly different stories for the Browns but I will follow my heart and say the Browns will be 6-10 at the end of the season and they’ll only go up from there… SUPERBOWLLLLL…SUPER BROWNS!

Justin Miller

Overall record: 5-11

Wins against the Jets, Bengals (x2), Buccaneers, and Broncos

3rd in AFC North
Obviously huge improvements have been made from a win-less team just a year ago. Although expectations are extremely high for this team, I think it is simply unrealistic for a winning percentage close to .500. Baker Mayfield was a good pick, but wasn’t worth first overall. The Browns missed out on Saquan Barkley which will haunt them for the next decade. With Taylor starting week one, I don’t see Mayfield starting until late in the second half of the season once the browns are officially eliminated from playoff contention. Break out player will be M. Garret if you even consider him a breakout. Injury held him back last season but the sky is the limit for him this year. MVP will be Jarvis Landry as he will be key on the offensive side of the ball with multiple receptions per game and being a true possession wide receiver (via Larry Fitz). What will hurt the browns the most is the joke of an offensive line. Even with future HOF Joe Thomas at left tackle, they still struggled to block just about anyone and will be the root cause for Tyrod Taylor and the running game to be consistent. Its an exciting year for the browns, but a true winning culture is not here yet.

 

Kyle Molinelli

I believe this season will shock a lot of people. This team is not the same teams that went win-less last year, or the one who won only one game the year before that. This team is hungry, and they’re going to surprise a lot of people. With talent stocked at WR and a stable quarterback situation, I think they laid the foundation of a winning team, and I think they go 8-8 this year. Tyrod Taylor has a chip on his shoulder, and he will be the leader this team needs, and the mentor Baker Mayfield deserves to be eased in. Josh Gordon and Jarvis Landry will have to learn to share how many catches they get since they will be such dangerous weapons for the offense. The only question we really have is how our Offensive line will be, since Joe Thomas has retired. Overall, look out world because the browns are here to shock the system. (Yes I am probably way too hyped for this and my dreams might be crushed.) 

Ryan Ribinskas

I believe the Browns will go 9-6

Jarvis Landry and Josh Gordon will be in the top 10 in the NFL for receiving and Baker Mayfield will not start a game. I also believe Denzel ward will win DPOY and Myles Garrett will win DPOY.

Deontae Shahid

I believe the Browns will win 5-6 games this year starting with the 1st game of the season against the Steelers. Barring injury I do not believe Baker will get a start this year. If Tyrod stays healthy, I believe he will be good enough for us this year to keep the starting role for the entirety of the season. Standout players this year have to be Myles Garrett, Jarvis Landry, and Christian Kirksey. Denzel Ward might struggle in the beginning of the season, but his play will pick up as the season progresses.

The Zips open up Football Season at home after game cancelation

The University of Akron Football team kicks off the season with the home opener against Morgan State this Saturday at 3:30 pm.

After their first game was cancelled due to weather, the Zips will feature for the first time this season on their own grounds. Five of their seven wins and only one loss were at home last year. They have played Morgan State at home on two previous occasion – both of which were blowout wins for the roos and milestones in Akron. The first was the first game played in Infocision stadium, and the other was Head Coach Terry Bowdon’s first game at home for Akron.

Akron is returning a number of familiar faces during the 2018 season. Senior Ulysees Gilbert, who recorded 141 tackles, 9.5 TFL, five sacks, three interceptions, and a fumble in 2017, is a two-time All-MAC LB. Gilbert was also voted by his teammates to be a captain. WR Kwadarrius Smith saw a breakout in 2017 with 726 yards and seven touchdowns. Speed is Smith’s top weapon. He can use it to create space between defenders and attack zones. He will look to get over the top for QB Kato Nelson. Nelson started in place of suspended QB Thomas Woodson in 2017. He threw 70-140 for 989 yards, and 8 touchdowns. His playing style is different than Woodson’s, so it should prove exciting to see how the offense will shape out around Nelson.

Morgan State is 0-1 on the season after a week one loss to Towson. They are being coached by their defensive coordinator, Ernest Jones, as an interim coach.

Browns optimistic heading into the 2018 season

Berea, OH – The Cleveland Browns have now have something that they have not had in the recent past — optimism.

Hope has been in the air year after year for a successful season, or even a season in which the Browns win half of their games. Unfortunately, the team has won one game out of their past 32, and those losses all came under head coach Hue Jackson.

Jackson has done a tremendous job heading into the 2018 season in finding a new staff to compliment him, and finding talent that could make the difference. The talent begins with starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who is now heading into his eighth NFL season. Taylor has been the epitome of consistency and has been an excellent role model for the Browns number one draft pick Baker Mayfield.

Mayfield has a similar playing style to Taylor’s, and has admitted that Taylor has set the standard high for him. A model quarterback who has proven to be successful is something that has been absent from the Browns locker room, and this is the reason that many recent draft picks have not been able to grow and learn before they play. This is what held Deshone Kizer back, and many rookie quarterbacks before him.

Taylor has spoken about the “controversy” between the two quarterbacks in Brown’s training camp and assured the media that there is no controversy. These two players simply hold each other to the highest standard, and they are both preparing to play a starting role.

The next skilled position that the Browns have tremendously improved in, is the wide receiver position. They landed a big-time free agent in Jarvis Landry, and are hoping to return an extremely gifted receiver in Josh Gordon. Gordon has missed training camp due to personal reasons, but will likely debut in the first or second game of the season.

The Browns also have young talent in Antonio Callaway and Rashard Higgins, and this is a plethora of talent that the Browns may never have had at the position. Callaway has dealt with some legal issues that may hinder the beginning of his season, but he will make a huge impact if he can play.

The backfield has also improved tremendously with the addition of Carlos Hyde and Nick Chubb. Chubb is a rookie from Georgia that has broken a number of records, and had an outstanding college career as a north-south runner. Hyde has nearly eclipsed 1,000 yards in the past two seasons and is still in the prime of his career. The team also has Duke Johnson who is extremely talented, but has had issues with injury.

The teams tight end David Njoku is a freak athlete that has had trouble catching the ball, but Mayfield spoke to the media and said that Njoku has improved on catching the ball. This is the only issue that he has shown, but his athleticism gives him potential that could soar through the roof.

This is just on the offensive side of the ball, as their defense has improved dramatically. The team drafted a cornerback in Denzel Ward in the first round that is a lock down player, and they brought in Damarious Randall who is gifted in the secondary. They still have Jabrill Peppers who is a second-year player that is known to dominate the secondary.

The player with the highest roof on the defense is Myles Garrett, who is a second-year player that has the potential to be one of the greatest at his position. He is a physically gifted defensive end the was sidelined last season often due to injury.

A big positive for the Browns this is their linebacker core, because they have three linebackers that can all be considered elite. Jamie Collins was injured last season, but he was the best player on a New England Patriots team that consistently dominated. Christian Kirksey has been with the Browns for four years and is continuing to improve each year. They also brought in Michael Kendricks who was the starting middle linebacker last year for the Eagles – who won the Super Bowl.

The team has also brought in an offensive guru in Todd Haley, and many other coaching pieces that are rebuilding the culture for the Cleveland Browns.

The saying that Browns fans have spewed out for years is, “there’s always next season.” This might be that season.

 

 

Cavs vs Raptors Game 3 Preview

Three down, one to go. The Cleveland Cavaliers will attempt to wrap up their series against the Toronto Raptors at 8:30 p.m. in the Q. A win tonight would send the Cavs into their fourth consecutive Eastern Conference Finals against the winner of the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers series.

The Cavs are walking into this game with a home court advantage and a tremendous amount of momentum after coming out of game three with a LeBron James buzzer beater to win the game.

Toronto doesn’t have much to feel confident about. They have lost the past nine playoff games to Cleveland. They’re facing a potential sweep on the road. The Cavs held one of their leading scorers, DeMar DeRozan, to just eight points in game three.

LeBron, when asked about DeRozan’s poor performance said, “He missed a lot of easy opportunities…we’re just trying to make it a little bit more challenging that’s all.”

Looking ahead to the Eastern Conference Finals of the Cavs and the Celtics if each come out on top of their semifinal series, LeBron said he has been watching the other teams in their series. He said he has a lot of knowledge and insight on the Boston team who is missing their two star players Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving and still flourishing but doesn’t want to talk about it just yet, he still has a lot of work to do in the series against Toronto tonight.

Cavs Drop Game One

The Cleveland Cavaliers drop their opening game of the playoffs to the Indiana Pacers, 98-80. This was the first time in 21 games a LeBron James led team lost a first round game.

Post game, LeBron James said on his team being down 0-1, “I’m down 0-1 in the first round, I was down 3-1 in the Finals, I’m the last guy to ask about next game preparations.”. Ty Lue on the Pacers suffocating defense chipped in, “They came in, they were more physical, and in the playoffs usually those teams win”.

The Pacers walked into Quicken Loans Arena and looked like the better team, as they blitz the Cavs from beginning to end. This was not helped by the Cavaliers inability to make a three pointer as the team went a collected 8 of 34 on three point attempts.

LeBron James finished the game with a triple double as he went for 24 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists. The next highest scoring Cavalier was J.R. Smith, who finished with 15 points off the bench.

In the first quarter, the pace was as quick as you’d have expected. The Pacers seemed to be the ones more locked in though as they went on a tear, finishing the quarter up 19 points.

This continued all the way to halftime, as the Pacers were up 55-38. This was spearheaded by Victor Oladipo continuing to put pressure on the Cavs defense.

The second half was much of the same for the beginning of the third quarter. The Pacers managed to increase their lead to as high as 23 points. Then the Cavs began their comeback.

This was a repeat of last season, when the Cavs came back from 26 down to defeat the Pacers in game 3 of the opening round. The Cavs got within 7 points off of a Kevin Love four point play opportunity. Then the Pacers put an end to that.

Each time the Cavaliers seemed to get close, they couldn’t get over the hurdle. The Pacers continued to make shots as the everybody not named J.R. Smith, continued to struggle from the perimeter.

Victor Oladipo showed why he was an All-Star this year. He finished the game with 32 points on 58% shooting from the field. He constantly split the Cavs trap on pick and rolls, and also showed his defensive abilities with four steals.

The Cavaliers find themselves in unfamiliar territory, and will have to win a game in Indiana to take back home court advantage. It is easy to say that it is not expected for the Cavaliers to match their season low shooting and offensive rating percentages, but these Pacers cannot be overlooked as they made that clear in game one.

Once a slogan, now turns into reality as the Cavaliers will now have to do “Whatever It Takes” in order to reach the finals once again.