USA Today updates Browns prediction after Watson suspension

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The Cleveland Browns almost have clarity for the 2022 NFL season. QB Deshaun Watson was suspended by Judge Sue Robinson on Monday for six games. For the team, that stretch of games may be the best stretch of six games for them to be missing their starting quarterback.

Jacoby Brissett could be able to lead the way to a winning record or at least a .500 one during that time.

Clarity comes fully once the NFL decides whether or not they will appeal. If they do not by the Thursday deadline, six games is locked in and everyone moves forward. If they do appeal, an increased punishment is likely but clarity awaits that decision.

If the aftermath of the Watson decision, USA Today has updated their prediction (subscriber, $) for Cleveland’s season. Before Robinson’s decision, the prediction was that the Browns would finish last in the AFC North with a losing record.

After Robinson’s decision, the prediction is much more positive:

Cleveland Browns (10-7): His case may not be fully resolved given the league can still appeal Robinson’s ruling, yet the chips seems to be falling in his new team’s favor. Watson is scheduled to return Week 7 at Baltimore – tall order – but he’ll have the benefit of a Week 9 bye to reacclimate as he knocks off rust accrued from a nearly two-year absence from regular-season rigors. The Browns’ Nov. 27 home date with the Bucs now appears more favorable with DE Myles Garrett and Co. working against Tampa Bay’s increasingly depleted O-line.

While 10-7 may not be good enough to make the playoffs, the six-game suspension lifts the team’s hopes especially since Watson can return to practice in Week 4.

Predictions are a fun part of the ramp-up to the regular season. At least today, one major publication was forced to change theirs in reaction to the suspension decision Monday. That would likely change again if the NFL appeals and increases the length of the suspension.

Story originally appeared on Browns Wire