By Nick Shook
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Week 14 of the NFL season is upon us, and that means it’s time for another round of bold predictions. As always, this week’s edition of fearless prognostications includes a macho helping of audaciousness and abandon as we head into Sunday and Monday’s contests. Warning: These predictions are not for the faint of heart.
Robert Griffin III accounts for three touchdowns, Browns win
For our midseason bold predictions, I put the Browns in the grave. 0-16. History of the worst kind. And yet, this week, the Bob Griffin Era Part Two begins, and with it comes Cleveland’s best chance to avoid going winless in 2016. With Griffin under center, the Browns‘ offense instantly improves from dead-cat liveliness to registering a heartbeat, as his mobility offers another dimension for which the Bengals must account for. Cleveland gets the advantage of being at home in a game that will likely include plenty of empty orange seats, but also brings the welcome feeling of spending the week in the comfort of a familiar city. This combo sets up the Browns for a possible win, with nothing more to support this prediction.
Cleveland, at 0-12, doesn’t possess statistics worth researching or referencing. The most encouraging note to point out is how the Browns were competitive earlier in the season when closer to full strength. They’ll enter the rematch with the Bengals with the addition of Jamie Collins on defense, who hasn’t provided much to cheer about, but also isn’t his fault on a roster largely devoid of talent. So we’ll instead point to the intangibles, the traits that cannot be quantified, the effort and the #grit the Browns will need to display to have any shot in this contest. In their favor is Cincinnati’s season, which isn’t progressing toward the playoffs, and an offensive unit that is missing stars A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard. We’re overlooking the Bengals‘ thrashing of the Eagles last week, and we’re riding an overflowing glass level of optimism necessary to make this pick. Cleveland wins and prays San Francisco manages to pull out a victory before 2016 comes to a close. One win is far from the Browns‘ ultimate goals, but anything is better than going winless. It’s time to end that streak of days without a win. Keep Hue Jackson from press conference tears. Victory Monday is ahead for the Browns.
— Nick Shook
To read the full bold predictions from the Around the NFL writers, click here.