NFL Win Totals: Can the Browns Win Nine Games in 2024?

Aidan Cotter
Aidan CotterAidanCotterFD
NFL Win Totals: Can the Browns Win Nine Games in 2024?

Fueled by one of the league's top defenses, the Cleveland Browns put together a strong 2023 campaign. The Browns won 11 games and secured the AFC's top Wild Card spot, finishing second in the AFC North.

Even so, the Browns are expected to take a step back this season.

The NFL win totals at FanDuel Sportsbook put Cleveland's over/under at 8.5 wins while they have the third-shortest odds to win the AFC North at +480.

The Browns have eighth-shortest odds to win the AFC (+2100) and the 15th-shortest odds to win the Super Bowl (+4000).

Let's take a closer look at that win total and make a case for the Browns to win over and under 8.5 games this season.

All NFL odds via FanDuel Sportsbook, and they may change after the article is published.

Cleveland Browns 2024 Win Total Odds

Cleveland Browns Over/Under 8.5 Wins

  • Over: -138
  • Under: +112

Odds to Make the Playoffs: +132
Odds to Win the AFC North: +480
Odds to Win the AFC: +2100
Super Bowl Odds: +4000 (15th-best)

Key Offseason Coaching Changes:

  • Ken Dorsey replacing Alex Van Pelt as Offensive Coordinator
  • Duce Staley replacing Stump Mitchell at Running Backs Coach
  • Andy Dickerson replacing Bill Callahan as Offensive Line Coach

Why Cleveland Could Win Over 8.5 Games

  • Defense Remains Elite
  • Deshaun Watson is as Good as Joe Flacco
  • They Avoid the Injury Bug

The Browns' defense was one of the top units in the NFL last season. If they have any hope of going over their 2024 win total, it'll start with another strong performance on that end.

Cleveland had numberFire's top schedule-adjusted defense in 2023. They gave up the fewest passing yards per game (171.1) and led the league in EPA per dropback allowed (-0.32). The Browns were nearly as stout on the ground, letting up the 10th-fewest yards per game (103.8) and third-lowest EPA per rush (-0.15).

On top of that, they had the fifth-highest sack rate (8.3%) and averaged the ninth-most takeaways per game (1.6). Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz returns eight starters on that end while drafting a defensive tackle (Michael Hall Jr.) in the second round and adding a pair of veteran linebackers (Devin Bush and Jordan Hicks) in free agency.

The defense should, again, be top-notch. Consequently, Cleveland's chances of going over their win total lies primarily on their offense's shoulders.

That starts with Deshaun Watson. Through two seasons, the only part of Watson that's looked like a franchise quarterback is his salary. He appeared in just six games last season, throwing for 1,115 yards and seven touchdowns to four interceptions. Watson finished with a lower EPA per dropback than Tyson Bagent in 2023, but there's still hope he can rediscover the magic he had with the Houston Texans.

Even so, last year proved they don't need MVP-caliber quarterback play to win nine games. Cleveland at least needs Watson to be as good as Joe Flacco was down the stretch. Flacco is gone this season, but the Browns did sign Jameis Winston as their new backup.

They certainly surrounded Watson with capable weapons. Wideout Amari Cooper and tight end David Njoku both had career years in 2023, and Cleveland still has Elijah Moore along with their third-round picks from the prior two drafts, Cedric Tillman and David Bell. On top of that, they added former first-rounder Jerry Jeudy via trade.

Nick Chubb's health is a question mark, but Jerome Ford proved capable in his place last season. They also signed a pair of veterans, D'Onta Foreman and Nyheim Hines, to the running back room.

Chubb's return would further amplify this Cleveland offense, and it goes without saying the Browns would benefit from a healthier 2024. According to Aaron Schatz's adjusted games lost metric, the Browns had the fourth-most injuries to significant players in 2023.

Considering Cleveland managed 11 wins despite subpar quarterback play and rough injury luck last season, their 2024 win total feels low. If they're a bit healthier, Watson returns to at least league-average form, and the defense holds, the Browns will have a good shot at going over 8.5 wins.

Why Cleveland Could Win Under 8.5 Games

  • Offense Stagnates
  • The AFC North is a Gauntlet
  • Their Schedule is Terrifying

While the Browns' offense may be the key to them going over 8.5 wins, it's also the biggest reason they could go under their win total.

Last season, Cleveland had the fourth-worst schedule-adjusted offense in football, per numberFire's metrics. They were particularly dreadful through the air. Even after Joe Flacco came in and averaged 323.2 yards per game over the final five weeks, the Browns still finished with the fifth-fewest yards per attempt (6.4).

Watson hasn't shown much to inspire confidence that he'll be better in 2024, but the Browns are still tied to him through 2026. Barring injury, he'll likely be their starter regardless of how he performs in 2024. Based on the last two seasons, that's less than ideal.

While his supporting cast has improved on paper, it's fair to question how much longer a 30-year-old Amari Cooper can produce as a top receiver. The hope is that Jerry Jeudy can help alleviate that aging cliff, but he's coming off the worst season of his career (by PFF grade).

David Njoku starred down the stretch, but that came with Flacco under center. In the five full games Watson started, Njoku averaged just 4.0 receptions and 35.2 yards per game.

We shouldn't have too many concerns about their defense, but Cleveland didn't get any favors from the scheduling committee. Based on 2024 win totals, the Browns have the fourth-toughest schedule in the league this season. They have to play seven games versus top-eight opponents, tied for the most in the NFL.

A lot of that has to do with their division. The AFC North is arguably the toughest in the league, and having to face the Baltimore Ravens (third in numberFire's ratings), Cincinnati Bengals (fifth), and Pittsburgh Steelers (17th) two times apiece certainly doesn't help their chances of going over 8.5 wins.

If Watson can't take a step forward, it's not hard to imagine Cleveland taking a step back. Their defense should be strong enough that the bottom won't completely fall out but going under 8.5 wins is certainly in the cards.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.