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Deshaun Watson Ruling & Browns 2022 Win Total

August 3, 2022
Watson suspension

Earlier this week, the NFL ruled on Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson’s future. The league decided to suspend Watson for six games in 2022 for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Former federal judge Sue L. Robinson was the arbitrator for the case and held that while the NFL essentially won its case against Watson, it couldn’t levy the penalty that it really wanted – a season-long suspension.

So, it appears that Watson will miss the first six games of the Browns 2022 season. Cleveland opens at Carolina then plays the Jets and Steelers at home. The Falcons (away), Chargers, and Patriots round out the first six games of Cleveland’s season. If things go according to plan, Watson could return in time for an Oct. 23 game at Baltimore. 

How does the NFL ruling on Watson affect the Browns’ 2022 win total? Let’s take a look.

 

QB2

With the trading of Baker Mayfield to the Panthers, the Browns No. 2 quarterback will be Jacoby Brissett. The 6-4, 235-pound six-year NFL veteran has starting experience in the league. He will have to step in and play well in Games 1 through 6 if the Browns are going to have a chance at challenging for an AFC playoff spot. 

There are even bigger problems if Brissett gets dinged up. Behind him the Browns have Josh Dobbs and Cleveland did bring in former first-round pick Josh Rosen to compete for the No. 3 spot on the roster. Either way, Brissett needs to stay healthy.

 

Offseason Movement

The Browns lost what would have been the perfect solution at QB – Case Keenum. He’s now the backup to Josh Allen in Buffalo. TE Austin Hooper is now in Tennessee and WR Jarvis Landry is a Saint. Cleveland did add some quality receivers in Amari Cooper and Jakeem Grant. DE Chase Winovich comes over from New England and will likely start opposite a healthy Myles Garrett.

 

The Schedule

The Browns will have a difficult time winning at least three of the first six games without Watson at quarterback. The rest of the schedule is tough as well. Both Baltimore and Cincinnati will be played twice. The Browns get Buffalo and Tampa Bay in back-to-back weeks in November. The game with the Bills is on the road. Playing at Miami won’t be a cakewalk either. 

The Browns win total has now been set at 9.5 games at top sportsbooks. The Over is given odds of +135 with the Under coming in at -160. Winning ten games just doesn’t seem possible given Watson’s situation. Plus, the Browns have won 10 or more games exactly one time since 2008. The 2020 Browns managed 11 wins and a playoff spot, but the team regressed last year to 8-9. 

Taking out that 2020 season, the Browns win totals for the past decade are 8, 6, 7, 0, 1, 3, 7, 4, 5, and 4. The Browns had the No. 27-ranked passing game a year ago. The running game (No. 4) and the defense (No. 5) were solid, but getting 10 wins without your starting quarterback playing one-third of the season will be extremely difficult.