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AFCN review 0-16 is projected record for the Browns


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saw this on yahoo, and thought it was a bit unrealistic. i think the Browns are actually gonna finish 2nd in the division this year, ahead of Baltimore and Cincy, and secure a wild card spot with a 10-6 record.



could see them going 7-9 if a couple of things fall through (like Quinn locking down the QB position), but i think it's ludicrous to say they don't win even a single game.



this is a little long (alot long) but gives a pretty comprehensive (if not entirely accurate) view of the '09 AFCN division.



NFL Predictions and Projections

By Paul Bessire, WhatIfSports.com

June 10th, 2009

Related Features

2009 NFL Preview (schedule)

FOXSports.com - NFL

NFL SimMatchup

SimLeague Football


Email This ArticleWe will preview an NFL division each day for eight days, before presenting final standings, fantasy and statistical leaders, award winners, playoff results and power rankings. This analysis is part of a broader endeavor with FOXSports.com's Fantasy Football.


Rosters and depth charts are up-to-date and as accurate as possible as of June 9, 2009. A schedule of upcoming NFL preview content including links to other previews that have already been posted is located here.




For details on how we generate the results and the definition of the Absolute Record, click here.

To hide the details, click here.



For this analysis, each regular season game is simulated 10,000 times, with the sum of the winning percentages of those games being our final predicted record. As can be noted, sometimes a team is "favored" (wins more than 50% of the time) in a different number of our games than the expected record shows. We list this record as the Absolute Record. The assumption of the Absolute Record is that the more likely scenario always happens. Since we know that it does not (see Super Bowl XLII), our expected record (in parentheses next to each team) is far more accurate. Also, especially since we are rounding, it is possible for a team to win a game more often, yet score the same or fewer points on average. In those cases, for Absolute Records, we always take higher winning percentage and are not predicting a tie or a win by an underdog. This is another reason why the expected records are more accurate, as the teams are so evenly matched, the game could easily go either way.


Also, we account for players with injury histories who are considered likely to miss games despite currently being healthy by randomly taking them out of what the analysis dictates is the correct number of games throughout the season. For players who will begin the season injured or who are assumed to replace the current starter during the season, we deliberately make those roster changes in the appropriate weeks. All of these items can cause some perceived inconsistencies with the scores, especially when a team plays one opponent from its division with one set of starters and uses different personnel later.


Today we preview the AFC North.


Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)

The 2008 Super Bowl champions look to go back-to-back and win their seventh ring. We will look at the playoffs later, but Pittsburgh has smooth sailing to a first round bye from this mediocre division. The Steelers average 21.2 points per game (#16 in the NFL) and only allow 14.1 points (#2) against a schedule featuring six games against teams who made the playoffs in 2008.


Absolute Record: 14-2


Most Significant Newcomer: Evander "Ziggy" Hood, DE - With very few players of significance coming or going, Hood is essentially the only option here. That being said, the pressure will definitely be on the rookie from Missouri starting in Week One. The Steelers will need him to contribute; yet will never rely on him to make big plays. At 6'3", 300 pounds, Hood has prototypical size for a 3-4 end who needs to be adept at stuffing the run and neutralizing blockers in passing situations. He is not spectacular in any facet of the game and rarely had to worry about rush containment as a tackle in the pass-happy Big 12. We are projecting 16 games played, 30 tackles and two sacks for Hood, which is probably right in line with Pittsburgh's expectations and about all they need from the first-year player.


Biggest Strength: Defense up the Middle - The Pittsburgh Steelers are built like a great defensive baseball team with the smart, solid players on the inside and the flashy, headline-grabbers on the outside. Nose tackle Casey Hampton may be one of the most valuable players in football. In a 3-4 defense, the nose tackle must take on multiple blockers to hold the line and open up opportunities for the inside linebackers (and/or at least one of the safeties) to stuff the run. Assuming this can done effectively, outside linebackers and corners can be more aggressive, which leads to sacks and turnovers. Pittsburgh does all of this beautifully and it starts with Hampton. Behind him at linebacker, James Farrior is as solid as it gets, while Lawrence Timmons looks like a star ready to breakout with additional playing time after the release of Larry Foote. Pittsburgh obviously also has the luxury of having two athletic, hard-hitting safeties who are both equally capable of making big tackles and creating turnovers.


Most Exploitable Weakness: Mistakes on Offense - Pittsburgh's defense was so good last year that it always kept the Steelers in games and masked many of the costly turnovers and mistakes made by the offense. Of all active quarterbacks, Ben Roethlisberger actually had the highest (worst) percentage of his passes intercepted in 2008. He was also sacked the second most times in the NFL (behind Matt Cassell of New England) last year. Typically a team built in this mold with a very strong defense and a rushing attack with several weapons that can stay fresh and take time off the clock needs a quarterback who plays smart and minimizes mistakes. Roethlisberger, on the other hand, favors the big play and often compromises his team's chances of winning with mistakes - only to seemingly win the game at the end by making plays "when it counts." In other words, the Steelers, with some luck, win in spite of their quarterback's antics. In the playoffs, Roethlisberger often slows the game down and plays smarter. Pittsburgh needs him to play that way more often or it may catch up with them.


Possible Fantasy Sleeper: Santonio Holmes, WR - In the 2008 post-season, Hines Ward was banged-up, making Holmes the go-to receiver for the Steelers' passing attack. A changing of the guard may have taken place in the Super Bowl when it was Holmes, not Ward who made the game-winning TD catch. Ward is still around and can be effective, but Holmes will be the guy in 2009. He is very much in the discussion for 1,000 receiving yards and a top 15 fantasy ranking amond wide receivers. Our projections have him at 1,000 yards even on 60 catches, both career highs.


Closest Game: Minnesota (Week 7) - The AFC North plays the AFC West and NFC North, meaning its teams will have a fairly easy schedule (Pittsburgh's is the easiest because they don't have to play themselves twice like everyone else in the division). The most likely loss on the schedule comes against the Vikings. Even though the Steelers will be at home, Minnesota is a team that can put together the few explosive plays necessary to beat Pittsburgh in a low-scoring game. And no, this game will not likely end in a tie. The teams are just that close that the projected scores round to the same value.


Fantasy Notables (fantasy rank at position in parentheses): Ben Roethlisberger (15) 3,070 yards, 18 TDs, 14 INTs; Willie Parker (29) 1,030 total yards, 7 TDs; Santonio Holmes (17) 60 receptions, 1,000 yards, 6 TDs; Hines Ward (22) 79 receptions, 982 yards, 6 TDs; Heath Miller (19) 39 receptions, 424 yards, 2 TDs; Jeff Reed (9) 34/35 XPs, 28/35 FGs


Projected 2009 Results:Week Opponent Win% Avg Score

1 Tennessee Titans 67 21-14

2 @Chicago Bears 67 17-14

3 @Cincinnati Bengals 76 21-13

4 San Diego Chargers 62 23-18

5 @Detroit Lions 83 25-14

6 Cleveland Browns 95 31-7

7 Minnesota Vikings 45 18-18

9 @Denver Broncos 74 23-16

10 Cincinnati Bengals 67 21-14

11 @Kansas City Chiefs 70 18-14

12 @Baltimore Ravens 64 17-15

13 Oakland Raiders 70 23-15

14 @Cleveland Browns 85 23-12

15 Green Bay Packers 76 22-12

16 Baltimore Ravens 73 21-12

17 @Miami Dolphins 45 15-18




Cincinnati Bengals (8-8)

Carson Palmer's return to full health will benefit the Bengals greatly in 2009. With a young and talented defense on the field less and a light schedule, the Bengals improve by (at least) four wins. The Bengals average 20.9 points per game (#18) and allow 20.8 points (#16) against a schedule featuring six games against 2008 playoff teams.


Absolute Record: 10-6


Most Significant Newcomer: Andre Smith, OL - As we noted last month, the Bengals had a great draft according to our analysis of rookies who positively impact their teams in 2009. Andre Smith is at the top of that list for Cincinnati. He was a dominant run-blocker for Alabama in the ultra-competitive SEC and projects to a better-than-average pass protector in the NFL. We just mentioned how much better the team should be with a healthy Carson Palmer at quarterback. Palmer will be at his best if Smith can pave the way for Cedric Benson and an effective running game that can balance the offense and keep defenses guessing. Smith comes with some potential pitfalls as well. As we mentioned in the drat analysis, "the computer does not know what Andre Smith looks like with his shirt off." Right now, we assume that he will have a sizable (pun-intended) impact on the team - akin to Joe Staley or Jake Long as rookies. He could be even better like Joe Thomas or Ryan Clady. Or he could go Tony Mandrich on us and crush an already dismal franchise.


Biggest Strength: Youth on Defense - For a .500 team that is actually favored in ten games, nothing really jumps out as a definite strength. Several pieces - a healthy, Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback, an athletic, revamped offensive line, a stable of diverse running backs and wide receivers, a young defensive core, newly signed veterans, upgrades on special teams, etc. - that could be characteristic of a successful team appear to be coming together at one time, but none of them is much more of a lock to perform well than the others. We will highlight the young defense here as that is the most promising aspect of this team for 2009 and beyond. Seven likely defensive starters - like Leon Hall, Keith Rivers, Ray Maualuga and Domata Peko - and many more contributors have three or less years of experience. And as rare as it may sound in Cincinnati, all of them belong.


Most Exploitable Weakness: Uncertainty - There may be several promising aspects of this team, but that also means that the Bengals must take a leap of faith that all of those pieces will improve as they hope and jell in 2009. There is a good chance that at least one of those items does not materialize. The talented rookies may be slow to develop. Carson Palmer or others may get hurt. The youth could be prone to mistakes. Or all of the above.


Possible Fantasy Sleeper: Chris Henry, WR - "Changed man" or otherwise, Chris Henry has a great deal of talent, Carson Palmer loves throwing to him and he has been showing up to everything in the offseason (while others ahead of him do not). Whether Chad Ochocinco gets back to his 2002-2007 numbers or not, Henry should eclipse his 2006 numbers when he had 36 catches for 605 yards. Our projections have Chris Henry at 41 catches for 696 yards (despite being the third option at WR for the Bengals).


Closest Game: @ Oakland Raiders (Week 11) - If the Bengals want to "turn the corner" and get back in the playoffs, they have to be able to win a road game like this in Oakland. By Week 11, we have Jeff Garcia and Darren McFadden entrenched as starters for the Raiders so they will be improved over the beginning of the season, but the Bengals are still the better overall team.


Fantasy Notables: Carson Palmer (15) 3,065 yards, 19 TDs, 11 INTs; Cedric Benson (24) 1,197 total yards, 8 TDs; Chad Ochocinco (37) 63 receptions, 851 yards, 5 TDs; Laveranues Coles (38) 66 receptions, 842 yards, 5 TDs; Chris Henry (43) 41 receptions, 696 yards, 4 TDs; Shayne Graham (13) 34/35 XPs, 27/33 FGs


Projected 2009 Results:Week Opponent Win% Avg Score

1 Denver Broncos 68 29-21

2 @Green Bay Packers 56 21-21

3 Pittsburgh Steelers 24 13-21

4 @Cleveland Browns 82 26-17

5 @Baltimore Ravens 45 17-21

6 Houston Texans 54 23-20

7 Chicago Bears 51 20-18

9 Baltimore Ravens 51 21-19

10 @Pittsburgh Steelers 33 14-21

11 @Oakland Raiders 51 23-24

12 Cleveland Browns 78 28-16

13 Detroit Lions 65 24-18

14 @Minnesota Vikings 25 17-26

15 @San Diego Chargers 32 20-27

16 Kansas City Chiefs 64 24-18

17 @New York Jets 32 17-24




Baltimore Ravens (8-8)

Joe Flacco's sophomore season is not as impressive as his rookie year as Baltimore falls short of the playoffs. The team clearly misses misses Bart Scott and Rex Ryan. The Ravens average 19.7 points per game (#25) and allow 19.1 points (#11) against a schedule featuring five games against 2008 playoff teams.


Absolute Record: 8-8


Most Significant Newcomer: Michael Oher, OL - Assuming he was not yet ready to unseat right tackle Willie Anderson, we originally had Michael Oher ranked as the 63rd most impactful rookie, behind other Ravens like DE/OLB Paul Kruger and ILB Jason Phillips. That changed drastically when Anderson retired shortly after the NFL Draft. Now Oher will be expected to help protect second-year quarterback Joe Flacco and pave the way for Flacco's fellow sophomore, running back Ray Rice. To be honest, Oher was drafted a round or two ahead of his value in our analysis. Despite starting three seasons at Mississippi, Oher is fairly new to football and could still be a project. The Ravens aren't waiting on him, so he'll have to do well now. The projections put him in the middle of his potential, just below average for an NFL RT. His extremes are not as pronounced as a guy like Andre Smith, but neither is his talent. He should at least retain his job this season and for several years to come.


Biggest Strength: Defensive Intimidation - Intimidation comes through in the numbers when teams are scared to run up the middle toward Haloti Ngata and Ray Lewis, pass deep near Ed Reed or scramble around a freak like Terrell Suggs.


Most Exploitable Weakness: Passing Offense - It is not that Joe Flacco is a bad NFL quarterback. He actually projects to be just better than average this season. The concern with the passing game is a lack of weapons and question marks on the offensive line. Flacco should be able to complete 60% of his passes again this year, while minimizing interceptions, but his completions may not go very far after the catch and he should end up on his back even more often than he did in 2008 when he was sacked the eighth most in the NFL. Derrick Mason is banged-up right now and is 35 years old. Todd Heap's career has fallen off over the last two years. The same can be said for free agent signee LJ Smith. And Mark Clayton has never really shown that he can be a go-to guy. There is no else on the roster worth mentioning here. Especially with potential issues on the line, the running game is not strong enough to overcome the liabilities of the passing game.


Possible Fantasy Sleeper: Ray Rice, RB - By the time most fantasy drafts begin, Ray Rice may actually be around the 20th running back taken, but for now, we have him valued higher than most. Le'Ron McLain had an impressive season in 2008, yet, without Lorenzo Neal and with an offensive line in flux, he will be needed more in blocking from the fullback position in 2009. Willis McGahee can be productive in spurts, yet has major durability concerns. Whether he opens the season first on the depth chart or not, Ray Rice should be the Ravens best fantasy running back. Our projections see Rice net almost 1,200 total yards and ten touchdowns on about 15 touches a game.


Closest Game: Kansas City (Week 1) - Kansas City is probably stronger in Week One of the simulations than they will be to begin the actual season, yet the revamped, recharged Chiefs would like nothing more than to open the new year with a road win over a playoff team. We should know quickly how much the losses of Bart Scott, Willie Anderson, Lorenzo Neal, Rex Ryan and Jim Leonhard mean to the Ravens.


Fantasy Notables:Joe Flacco (14) 2866 yards, 17 TDs, 11 INTs; Ray Rice (21) 1,189 total yards, 10 TDs; Willis McGahee (47) 794 total yards, 6 TDs; Derrick Mason (30) 67 receptions, 890 yards, 5 TDs; Mark Clayton (40) 43 receptions, 788 yards, 5 TDs; Todd Heap (20) 33 receptions, 412 yards, 2 TDs; Steven Hauschka (30) 34/34 XPs, 21/29 FGs


Projected 2009 Results:Week Opponent Win% Avg Score

1 Kansas City Chiefs 50 18-16

2 @San Diego Chargers 32 18-25

3 Cleveland Browns 86 29-14

4 @New England Patriots 23 15-26

5 Cincinnati Bengals 55 21-17

6 @Minnesota Vikings 24 16-26

8 Denver Broncos 77 26-16

9 @Cincinnati Bengals 49 19-21

10 @Cleveland Browns 82 26-16

11 Indianapolis Colts 45 18-18

12 Pittsburgh Steelers 36 15-17

13 @Green Bay Packers 57 18-18

14 Detroit Lions 72 25-16

15 Chicago Bears 53 18-16

16 @Pittsburgh Steelers 27 12-21

17 @Oakland Raiders 46 21-24




Cleveland Browns (3-13)

Clearly a team in disarray as they transition coaching staffs and philosophies, the Cleveland Browns are simply the worst team in the NFL in 2009. The Browns average 16.9 points per game (#32) and allow 28.1 points (#31) against a schedule featuring just six games against 2008 playoff teams.


Absolute Record: 0-16


Most Significant Newcomer: Eric Barton, LB - Barton was a tackling machine for the New York Jets in 2008 and was hand-picked by his head coach, Eric Mangini, to lead the Browns defense in 2009. Barton should help to anchor the interior of the defense which also includes D'Qwell Jackson. Barton and Jackson, both former Maryland Terrapins, each topped 100 total tackles last season.


Biggest Strength: Special Teams - The sad thing is that Joshua Cribbs, the team's return specialist who also plays on the coverage units, knows this is Cleveland's biggest strength and has tried to leverage that in contract negotiations. Phil Dawson may be the worst starting fantasy kicker in the league, but that has everything to do with the offense. He has a strong leg, capable of hitting from 50+ yards, which is a big weapon for a team that will struggle to move the ball. Cribbs' numbers from 2008 do not look as great as the previous season, but he helped the team to finish second in the league (behind Oakland) in net punting margin (Cleveland averaged 5.7 more net yards per punt than its opponents). Cribbs also made 23 special teams tackles.


Most Exploitable Weakness: Everything Else - It may not quite be that bad - Joe Thomas, D'Qwell Jackson, Shaun Rogers and Braylon Edwards should be bright spots for the Browns - but the team lacks cohesive pieces and standout players. The numbers don't like Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson at quarterback. Jamal Lewis is a well-below NFL-average performer at this point, who inexplicably still gets touches - probably because there really isn't anyone behind him to trust. The team shipped out its promising, young - though oft-injured and hot-headed - tight end. The offensive line is not anything special. Braylon Edwards has talent, but he also drops too many passes. Brian Robiskie looks good, yet is not likely ready to be a clear number two - and there is no one behind him who is. The 3-4 outside linebackers can't get to the quarterback. The corners show up on every NFL receiver's highlight reel - for the wrong reasons. Their nose tackle is frequently out of playing shape and too easily disgruntled. And the coaching staff is already drawing the ire of many players and fans.


Possible Fantasy Sleeper: Brian Robiskie, WR - With Donte' Stallworth's legal issues, Robiskie is the likely second receiver on the Browns. He is a great compliment to Braylon Edwards as he is most things that Edwards is not. Robiskie is mild-mannered, a great route runner and has sure hands. He is not fast nor an exceptional deep threat. The projections give Robiskie 30 catches for 434 yards. Considering the projected poor performance of the quarterbacks, that's significant. If either QB can exceed expectations and put together a great year, Robiskie's projections will greatly improve.


Closest Game: Jacksonville Jaguars (Week 17) - This could be the battle for the first draft choice, with the loser earning the prize. By now, Cleveland should have realized that neither of its quarterbacks is the answer, so it may be in the Browns' best interest to lose and draft Sam Bradford first overall.


Fantasy Notables: Brady Quinn (30) 2,166 yards, 12 TDs, 9 INTs; Jamal Lewis (28) 1,101 total yards, 6 TDs; Jerome Harrison (55) 718 total yards, 5 TDs; Braylon Edwards (15) 67 receptions, 1,069 yards, 6 TDs; Steve Heiden (24) 33 receptions, 375 yards, 2 TDs; Phil Dawson (32) 28/28 XPs, 20/24 FGs


Projected 2009 Results:Week Opponent Win% Avg Score

1 Minnesota Vikings 8 18-33

2 @Denver Broncos 29 23-31

3 @Baltimore Ravens 14 14-29

4 Cincinnati Bengals 18 17-26

5 @Buffalo Bills 18 14-29

6 @Pittsburgh Steelers 5 7-31

7 Green Bay Packers 28 19-24

8 @Chicago Bears 17 13-26

10 Baltimore Ravens 18 16-26

11 @Detroit Lions 34 21-28

12 @Cincinnati Bengals 22 16-28

13 San Diego Chargers 11 19-33

14 Pittsburgh Steelers 15 12-23

15 @Kansas City Chiefs 21 18-29

16 Oakland Raiders 20 21-29

17 Jacksonville Jaguars 37 23-25




Click here to view a schedule of 2009 NFL previews and see others that have been posted.


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Articles such as this really don't bother me at all. Perhaps, if everyone predicts that we are going to bomb, the team may actually play with attitude and a chip it's shoulder. That would be truly refreshing after the disaster we experienced last year.
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Like others said in this thread, and what I've been screaming for years now is that we always surprise everybody when everybody is predicting us to bomb. I love it, I love it, i love it!!!!!



It was doom for us last year, and I knew it.


This year, I'm pretty stoked.



Well then, what do you think when there is a good article about the Browns?


"It was doom for us last year, and I knew it" WHAT? This board had "deep in the play-off's" in every post!!! You knew it? Yea.





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Well then, what do you think when there is a good article about the Browns?


"It was doom for us last year, and I knew it" WHAT? This board had "deep in the play-off's" in every post!!! You knew it? Yea.


What exactly gave it away for you that the Browns were going to be a 4 win team last year?

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Pay no attention to him, you and I both were soldiers; I honestly question whether he was or not



You can be a soldier AND an idiot

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I don't hate anything. In fact, I respect you guys for being optimistic.


I just can't live in the world you guys live in.


I need real wins for me to be satisfied with how things are going. Positive articles by Cleveland writers don't give me faith, or hope.


A true Cleveland fan is not optimistic. (I hate to say it). Jim Brown retiring, Paul Brown getting fired, Red Right 88, the fumble, the drive, losing the team, the playoff loss to Pittsburgh.


Let's talk Indians. Then again.


Cavs had the best regular season record, league MVP, Coach of the year, and don't do a darn thing.


I am a Clevelander. My river catches on fire. Dennis, George, Mary Rose and the rest. Big Chuck and Hullihan, Pizza fights, Molkie Cole, MSB and Alex Bevan.


I'm not optimistic about the Browns, Indians or Cavs. I just wait for the season and hope they do something.


But until then, I check this board mostly for news.


Why do you guys get so angry when I say, let's win a game before declaring we are better.


(Pittsburgh teams have won two championships just this year, we haven't won one since 64. It's depressing)

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Well see Soldier knew we'd be playing Kenjamin Dorsey and Bruce Gradkowski at QB last year.


Another little secret: He also knew Stallworth was going to step on Braylon's heel and then barely play all year, Edwards missing all of preseason along with DA and his concussion and also Tucker playing one game.


These are justa few of the things he had a premonition on.


Soldier, could you please predict my financial future?

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I don't put too much into this type of article but it does get me thinking of one question....


Wouldn't the team that just WENT 0-16 be most likely to repeat that? Exactly how did they take a quantum leap ahead of the bottom feeders of the league?

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Well see Soldier knew we'd be playing Kenjamin Dorsey and Bruce Gradkowski at QB last year.


Another little secret: He also knew Stallworth was going to step on Braylon's heel and then barely play all year, Edwards missing all of preseason along with DA and his concussion and also Tucker playing one game.


These are justa few of the things he had a premonition on.


Soldier, could you please predict my financial future?



I see IHOP cutting back on table bussers, you will have to find a new job.





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I see IHOP cutting back on table bussers, you will have to find a new job.


That's it? What's wrong with being a busboy and why can't you direct me to another job?


A true seer like you should be able to help a brother out.

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saw this on yahoo, and thought it was a bit unrealistic. i think the Browns are actually gonna finish 2nd in the division this year, ahead of Baltimore and Cincy,


Thanks for sharing that with us! You know what? I ALWAYS prefer the media and experts to tell us we aren't expected to be significant enough for playoff consideration. There's always something to be said for the players/teams that feel like they have something to prove.


The last TWO times this team got tons of offseason/preseason love - it was heading into the season we lost our football team AND heading into 2008. I remember Dan Druff Dierdoofus placing us in the Superbowl when we had a nice preseason MNF game.

- Tom F.

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Computer simulations adding up to zero wins for the browns. That's why they'll never have my complete trust.


At least the people with the bad habits (as Ditka would put it) gave the browns credit for at least 6 wins. :



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