Only the strange year that is 2020 could possibly end with the Cleveland Browns not suffering a losing campaign.
Given that Week 17 concludes on Jan. 3, 2021, the above statement may not be technically true depending on how things shake out in the coming weeks. But the greater point is simple: if all goes to plan, one of the NFL’s most miserable franchises will finish this season with a winning record.
The Cleveland Browns are 7-3 so far this season
The Cleveland Browns will wake up on Thanksgiving Day with a better record than reigning MVP Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens.
Let that sink in. If such a fact is still hard to swallow or even perceive as real, you are not alone.
Despite an underwhelming season from quarterback Baker Mayfield and some significant injuries, Cleveland is right in the heart of the AFC playoff picture.
Running back Kareem Hunt has revived his career with 644 yards on 4.4 yards per carry, with Nick Chubb adding 575 yards and five touchdowns on an even six yards per attempt in six games.
Hunt has eight total touchdowns and only one fumble this season.
Although he missed the Browns’ Week 11 victory over Carson Wentz and the Eagles for COVID-19 reasons, star defensive end Myles Garrett is having a stellar season. Garrett has 9.5 sacks and four forced fumbles, and has a strong chance at winning NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
They have an excellent chance at finishing with a winning record
With one more win, the Cleveland Browns will clinch a non-losing season.
Two more wins, and the Browns will have a winning record to celebrate for the first time in a long time. Nearly three years after the Browns
completed an 0-16 campaign, Cleveland is in excellent shape to make the postseason.
Cleveland plays at the miserable Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 12. Jacksonville has lost nine straight games since a Week 1 upset of Philip Rivers and the Colts.
Cleveland hosts a struggling Ravens team in Week 14 on Monday Night Football, and then travels to the so-far-winless New York Jets two weeks later.
The Browns also have road games at Tennessee (Week 13) and the rebounding Giants (Week 15). Cleveland closes the season against Pittsburgh, which won its first 10 games this year, in Week 17.
When did the Cleveland Browns last post a winning season?
It has been quite a long time since the Cleveland Browns last had a non-losing season, much less a winning season.
Both came in the same year. Back in 2007, the Browns went 10-6 and narrowly missed the playoffs in a competitive AFC.
Derek Anderson had a career year, completing 56.5% of his passes for 3,787 yards, 29 touchdowns, and 19 interceptions. Offseason signee Jamal Lewis ran for 1,304 yards and nine touchdowns.
Tight end Kellen Winslow (82 catches for 1,106 yards and five touchdowns) and wide receiver Braylon Edwards (80 catches, 1,289 yards, and 16 touchdowns) each made the Pro Bowl.
Josh Cribbs, the excellent special teams standout, returned a punt and two kickoffs for touchdowns.
Cleveland only won six or more games on three occasions from 2008-19, and all coming in the final six such seasons.