Browns: 2023 wins prediction round up pre-training camp edition

The 2023 offseason is drawing closer to an end with organized team activities starting up soon and training camp just a couple of months away for the Cleveland Browns. With the 2023 NFL draft in the books and most of the major free agency moves done as well, we start to look forward to the 2023 season and making predictions on win totals.

The FanDuel sportsbook, one of the more popular sportsbooks, currently has the Browns’ over/under win total set at 9.5 as this article is being written. If I was to make a prediction right now I would take the over as I see the Browns as an 11-win team currently. Let’s take a look at the rankings from various other publications in this over/under round-up.

ESPN: Over 8.5 wins


Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN like many other publications believes that it all rides on if Deshaun Watson can return to form.

“Mike Clay’s projection: 9

Prediction: PassIs QB Deshaun Watson as bad as he looked in 2022? Can he rediscover the elite form he showcased in Houston? I, frankly, do not know. That’s the reason I pass on this team. That variable is too difficult to predict. If Watson plays like he did in his past, this could be a very dangerous team. If he plays like he did in 2022, this team will finish last in the division. — Fulghum”

CBS Sports: 7-10


Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Will Brinson believes the tough early season schedule and bye will result in more of the same from the Browns?

“Caesars Win Total: 8.5 (over -175)
Brinson Projected Record: 7-10

Three early-season home matchups against division/conference foes might really set the table for Cleveland. I have them struggling out of the gate with a lot of pressure on the coach and QB plus a tough division making it hard for Cleveland to meet pretty lofty Vegas expectations. A Week 5 bye is nobody’s friend.”

PFF: Under 8.5 wins


Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson

Like many others, the uncertainty of which Deshaun Watson will show up PFF is lower on the Browns right now. (Prediction before Za’Darius Smith trade)

“Over/Under 8.5 win total: Under

With the uncertainty surrounding Watson’s potential return to form and a lack of depth at key positions, the Browns will find it difficult to come out on top of what is expected to be a tough AFC North.”

Fox Sports: 9-8


Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Fox Sports believes the team will find its second winning record under Kevin Stefanski.

The Browns will ultimately go as far as Deshaun Watson takes them in 2023. His first season in Cleveland was rough, completing just 58.2% of his passes for 1,102 yards and seven touchdowns with five picks. It was understandable, considering he didn’t play in 2021. He must live up to his five-year, $230 million fully guaranteed contract for Cleveland to go anywhere in a loaded AFC, starting with a tough AFC North division. If he doesn’t step up, the Browns are a middling team. —Ben Arthur

Sports Illustrated: 8-9


Browns guard Joel Bitonio (75) and tackle Jack Conklin

Sports Illustrated believes it will be tough in the loaded AFC and AFC North for the team to challenge for the playoffs.

“After struggling in the first year of the Deshaun Watson era, the Browns enter 2023 with the benefit of a last-place schedule. Cleveland should be favored in most of its games outside the division, but the AFC North matchups are going to be rough. Last year, the Browns went 3–3 in the division and should be improved with Watson fully reinstated.

If Cleveland is going to push for a playoff spot, it’ll need to win some of the softer games on the slate, including home dates with the Cardinals and Bears, and road games against the Texans and Colts.”

Pro Football Network: 10-7


Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Pro Football Network mentions the Browns as a potential dark-horse Super Bowl candidate.

“I have the Cleveland Browns as one of my top Super Bowl sleepers, as I expect their offense to be much improved in 2023. With Watson no longer rusty and playing in a more spread offense with capable weapons, the Browns have serious talent worth watching. Getting favorable home draws will certainly help that.

The two toughest road games that could swing their season come at the Seahawks and at the Broncos. Both are much better home teams than on the road, and Cleveland must notch as many wins as possible in order to survive the brutal AFC North.”

Bleacher Report: 9-8


Browns wide receiver Amari Cooper

Bleacher Report believes that a winning season is on the horizon for the Browns.

“The Browns have flirted with an above-.500 record in each of the past two seasons, and after a very strong offseason, they should finally get over the proverbial hump and perhaps back into the postseason.

Cleveland addressed its two biggest needs by improving its receiver depth and the talent along the defensive line. Adding Elijah Moore, Marquise Goodwin and rookie Cedric Tillman will boost the passing attack, Dalvin Tomlinson, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Trysten Hill and rookie Siaki Ika will strengthen the defensive front.”

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Story originally appeared on Browns Wire