Predicting game-by-game team victories appears to be a media topic of the month as of late with multiple outlets offering their takes on which matchups they think each team will win in 2018. Ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, the takes seem to be getting more and more outlandish as the weeks go by and on Monday night, the NFL Network took their projections to a whole new level of insanity.
In a segment entitled “Why your team will make the playoffs” hosted by Maurice Jones-Drew and James Jones, the two former NFL players picked the winners and loser of each of the Pittsburgh Steelers games this season and while their projected won/loss record of 10-6 might not seem too far off the mark, how they got there might surprise you.
Will the @steelers repeat as AFC North champs? @89JonesNTAF and @MJD predict their record in 2018 ⬇️— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) July 3, 2018
: @NFLTotalAccess pic.twitter.com/KIvEeouoGs
Despite the fact that the Cleveland Browns have not won an opening day game since 2004, the duo picked Pittsburgh to lose to the Browns in Week 1. If that was not bad enough, they would then go on to predict the Steelers would drop their second matchup of the season against Cleveland in Week 8.
To put that in perspective, Jones and Jones-Drew were actually suggesting that a team that has won just one game in two years, has lost six in a row to Pittsburgh and has gone 3-18 against the Steelers since Mike Tomlin took control in 2007 would win two games in the same season against Pittsburgh. The last time the Browns achieved that feat was in 1988, a year that the Steelers went 5-11 and posted the worst record the team has had since 1969.
If we give Jones and Jones-Drew the benefit of the doubt and change that opening day loss to a win, the remaining projections for the season and not too far off. A loss at home to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 5 might be less likely than a loss to the New England Patriots in Week 15 or the New Orleans Saints in Week 16, but 11-5 would seem to be a credible prediction for the year.
Cleveland will win a game against Pittsburgh one day, maybe even this year, they will not win two of them in 2018 and while I never make guarantees about an upcoming season, I would be willing to bet my house on the Browns losing at least one game to the Steelers in 2018..