UPDATE: Could the Browns Go Winless? (12/07/16)
UPDATE (12/07/2016): After another loss to the Giants and a bye week, the Browns will play their Ohio rivals at home this week. Though it won't be much of a trip for the Bengals, the Browns will have the slight home-field advantage. The Bengals will be the Browns best remaining chance to win a game. Hue Jackson has been rotating quarterbacks in and out. It looks like he'll go with Josh McCown again this week. Assuming there are no major injures, the Browns will be less than a 30% chance of winning their other three games.
Even though they'll be large underdogs in their remaning games, the odds are still on their side of winning at least one game. The odds of the Browns going winless are now 26.1%. This comes with the assumption that they are not jeopardizing themselves on purpose in the race to the bottom with the 49ers, who have one win, and the Jaguars, who have two wins.
UPDATE (11/21/2016): Shockingly, the Browns lost again. Ben Roethlisberger now has as many wins against the Browns than a Browns quarterback has accumulated since 1999 at 10 wins (tied with Derek Anderson). This loss was more troubling than the rest. Cody Kessler sustained another concussion, which brought Josh McCown back in the game. He didn't fare any better as the two quarterbacks combined to take eight sacks and were constantly running for their lives.
After the loss, two of the Browns best players, Terrelle Pryor and Joe Thomas, called out the front office for giving up before the season even started by releasing/trading players and putting their quarterbacks in harms way. The Browns' odds of going winless are continually increasing as they are not only losing games and getting less healthy, they are performing worse than earlier in the season.
The Browns will host the Giants this week and it remains their best chance to win a game this season at 31.7%. All of the other remaining games will give the Browns less than a 30% chance to win. After Sunday's loss, the Browns now have a 23.4% chance of going winless. Though that may seem low, it's still unlikely for really bad teams to lose five straight games; unless, of course, they are trying to do so.
UPDATE (11/14/2016): The Browns lost again on Thursday night as they were steamrolled 28-7 by the Ravens. Cleveland actually led 7-6 at the half, only to get shutout in the second half as the Ravens pulled away. Hue Jackson mysteriously started Cody Kessler as there was speculation that they were trying to ensure their first overall pick in next year's draft. However, Jackson turned back to Josh McCown after Kessler went 11-for-18 for 91 yards. McCown didn't fare much better going 6-for-13 for 59 yards and two interceptions.
Cleveland couldn't get anything going on the ground, either. Isaiah Crowell rushed nine times for 23 yards, with nine of those yards coming on one carry. Terrelle Pryor is emerging as the only threat that the Browns have on an offense that many thought could excel with additions of Pryor, Robert Griffin, Corey Coleman, and a potentially returning Josh Gordon. The only remaining piece is Pryor, who many thought would be the worst addition of them all.
The Browns will host the Steelers this week. They will have some extra time to prepare and rest since they played Thursday night against the Ravens. Ben Roethlisberger seems to be fully or close to fully healthy after he disected the Cowboys defense on Sunday. This is terrible news for the terrible Browns defense. They will have just a 26.6% chance to win, losing on average by close to ten points (although this may change slightly after our end-of-week updates).
There aren't any great or even okay matchups remaining for the Browns. They won't stand more than a 31.3% chance to win against any team for the rest of the season (assuming the Giants or Bengals don't suffer any devastating injuries on Monday Night Football). However, the probability of getting a win somewhere is still in their favor. The odds the Browns lose their remaining six games and go winless are now up to 19.4%.
UPDATE (11/07/2016): The Browns unsurprisingly lost to the Cowboys at home on Sunday 35-10. In a surprise turn of events, Hue Jackson turned the starting quarterback position over to Cody Kessler. There are a number of ways to see this move. First of all, the Browns' season is over. They may be seeing if Kessler can get enough traction to be their quarterback next year, or if they need to draft a quarterback next year with a possible first overall pick. The other, of course, is that they don't want to win and are turning to Kessler to ensure they receive the mentioned first overall pick in the draft.
Either way, it doesn't help their chances of winning at least one game this season. The Browns will now travel to Baltimore this week where they will be substantial underdogs, as you can see below, at about a 30% chance to win and losing by more than a touchdown on average. However, their probability of losing out and going winless hasn't changed that much.
The Cowboys loss increases their odds of a winless season from 3.0% to about 3.9%. Their best chance of winning is still when they host the Giants in a few weeks as three point underdogs, per our current prediction. As the season winds down, their chances of going winless will increase substantially. Check back next week as we have a 70% chance of issuing another update.
The Browns led the Jets 20-7 last week heading into halftime. It looked like Cleveland was going to beat the dismantled Jets and finally add a one to their win column. By the end of the third quarter, they managed to be trailing 21-20. They would go on to lose 31-28 to remain winless.
Not only are they 0-8; they are 2-6 against-the-spread. They've been even worse than the betting market would indicate. But are the Browns as bad as they seem? Now that they've reached the halfway mark, what are the odds that they finish the season without a win?
Josh McCown has returned to the starting quarterback role which drastically helps, although they are still quite bad. Interestingly, even with rotating quarterbacks, the Browns are just above league average in yards per play on offense. This is largely supported by their fifth ranked running game in terms of yards per attempt.
Their real downfall is being second to last in yards per play on defense, where their front seven and secondary are regularly getting exploited. Overall, they are certainly a bad team but they aren't as bad as their record or ATS record would indicate.
The real issue with last week is that it was their best chance to win a game for the rest of the season, especially holding a two-score lead at halftime. Their upcoming schedule is quite difficult and they will not be close to being favored in any game, assuming Ben Roethlisberger is back for Week 11 in Cleveland, which appears to be the case.
They'll play the Cowboys, Ravens, Steelers (twice), Giants, Bengals, Bills, and Chargers. Of their last eight games, three are on the road. They will play at Baltimore, at Buffalo, and at the Steelers to close out the season. Their best chance to win will be playing the Giants at home where we currently project them to lose by an average score of 26.6-23.0, with a 41.4% chance to win.
Using the probablities above, the Browns' chances of going winless is only 3% with an average number of wins of 2.8. The odds are they will not lose the next eight games. However, 3% is a high probability considering the question and it will only increase if they lose to the Cowboys on Sunday.