Hue Jackson and the Cleveland Browns are entering the 2016 NFL season with very few believing that they have any chance to compete. They are already being written off in the AFC North division and virtually no one is giving them a chance to make a shocking run into the NFL playoffs.
While they may not be viewed as a contender, the AFC North division is in shambles. Pittsburgh and Baltimore aren’t going to be powerhouse teams this season and the Cincinnati Bengals have been extremely inconsistent over the past few years.
Robert Griffin III was signed this offseason to be the new starting quarterback in Cleveland, as ESPN reported. It was a move that has brought a lot of attention to Browns’ training camp and their preseason schedule. He may not end up being a long-term starter in Cleveland, but he has the potential to turn things around and be the guy for the Browns moving forward.
Looking at the Browns’ first preseason game, there were a lot of things to be excited about. Perhaps the most intriguing story was the play of wide receiver Terrelle Pryor. As Peter Smith of NFL Spin Zone looked into, Pryor looked much more dangerous as a receiver against the Green Bay Packers.
All of that being said, what five reasons can be given to support the statement that the Browns could make a run into the NFL playoffs this season against all odds?
Robert Griffin III Has Star Potential
Despite the struggles that he had in Washington, Griffin is still more than capable of being a franchise quarterback. He completed 63.9 percent of his career passes with the Redskins for 8,097 yards, 40 touchdowns, and 23 interceptions. If he is able to grow into his full potential, the sky is the limit for the Browns’ offense.
Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman’s Playmaking Ability
Continuing to look on the offensive side of the football, the Browns’ wide receiver duo is going to be extremely entertaining, to say the least. Josh Gordon is back from suspension and rookie Corey Coleman lit up college football last year. Cleveland isn’t going to face many defenses that can slow down both of their receivers.
Improved Defensive Talent
Cleveland made drafting young defensive talent a point this year, while they also had young talent that will develop more. They are going to need their defense to step up and make plays in order to have a shot at a playoff appearance. There is no denying the talent that the Browns have, but they have to figure out a way to put it all together.
Extremely Underrated Coaching
Hiring Hue Jackson may very well end up being one of the biggest moves of the offseason for any team. Cleveland is getting a coach that knows how to motivate and get the most out of his players while developing talent. He will get his players to buy into his system and will have the Browns much more prepared for games than they have been in recent years.
Weak All-Around Conference
Obviously, teams like the Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, and Indianapolis Colts are going to be hard to beat. That may be the case, but the AFC as a whole is very weak. Cleveland may be able to come through with a few shocking wins and sneak their way into the Wild Card picture.
Expect to see the Browns show major signs of improvement this season whether they make the playoffs or not. There is absolutely nothing for them to lose.
Do you think the Cleveland Browns have a chance to make a run at the NFL playoffs in 2016? What are your predictions for their final record? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Image via AP Photo/Mike Roemer]