David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
Believe it—the Cleveland Browns will earn a wild-card berth in 2012.
This offseason has treated the Browns well as they have added three instant impact rookies to turn to in 2012.
Quarterback Brandon Weeden, running back Trent Richardson and wide receiver Josh Gordon will all be difference-makers this season.
It is true that all of their AFC North opponents, the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers all made the playoffs in 2011, but that won't be the case in 2012.
The Steelers are bound to take a step back this season. It's still unclear if and when wide receiver Mike Wallace will report to the team, running backs Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer are unproven and the defense showed their age in the playoffs last season.
If the Cincinnati Bengals made the playoffs in 2011 with a rookie quarterback and receiver duo, why can't the Browns in 2012? Don't forget, second-year receiver Greg Little is set to become a superstar this season.
Don't forget that the Browns have stub cornerback Joe Haden and ranked No. 2 against the pass in 2011, the "Year of the Quarterback."
Ball control on offense will be the key for the Browns in 2012. They scored 17-plus points just six times in 2011 and won only two of those games. Look for them to increase time of possession on offense and subsequently their win total in 2012.
Final Record: 9-7