​So, Uh, the Browns Are Going to Win a Game, Right?

Cleveland's best chance for a win this year might be this week against the Bengals. Good luck, RGIII.

by Rivers McCown
Dec 8 2016, 9:26pm

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Sitting at 0-12, the Cleveland Browns are only four losses from matching the 2008 Detroit Lions in the record books. Cleveland has been very bad this year, as you'd expect from their record. Carrying a -38.1 percent DVOA, Cleveland has been 10 percent worse than any team not named the Jets. The parity of the top of the NFL may have blinded you to this, but the Browns have really been indescribably bad. You have to go back to the 2013 Jaguars to find a team with a DVOA that low, and even barely so.

The other thing that might jump out at you about this chart is the way that the league's bottom-feeders have improved over time. The faster spread of information, communication, and whatnot has allowed teams to escape their misery eventually—except for these Browns. I actually thought the Browns looked like they had some life in them earlier in the season. The problem is that since then, Cleveland has been even worse.

The Browns have gotten worse in every area since Week 6. Their defense traded for Jamie Collins, and since Week 4 their only game below a 36.7 percent DVOA (higher numbers are bad for defenses) occurred in 40-mile-per-hour winds against the Steelers in Week 11. The offense, capable of scrappy play early in the season, has looked lost without guard Joel Bitonio, who was out for the season after Week 5. The once-proud run offense has rushed for more than 68 yards just once since then, and when the Browns get to negative game scripts with Cody Kessler and Josh McCown, they are toast.

So, are we really sure they're going to win one of their last four games? Their best chance is probably this week against the 4-7-1 Bengals. There's not a lot of tape on Robert Griffin III as a Browns quarterback, and coming off a bye the Browns might have had more time to plan some tricks. A.J. Green is gone, so there's that. Every other Cleveland opponent for the rest of the season has a positive DVOA.

The Browns are in on analytics, and they probably realize that as far as the end result is concerned, 0-16 here doesn't really change much for them. But it's also not a psychological edict you want to put on your fan base if you can avoid it, especially one as recently damaged as the Browns have been. It's pretty much all on the continually injured Griffin to save that from happening. Maybe he can win one for the weatherman.

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