When you think of Cleveland, Ohio, you think of loyalty, history, and sports. Although the city has not been nearly as successful as its rival Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, it has put up numerous successful teams over the last century.
From the Indians’ (now Guardians) two world series in the 1920s and 1940s, the dynasty Browns in the 50s, to the 2016 Cavaliers’ historic comeback, the city has rich history within their three major sports teams.
But how should Cleveland sports fans limit their expectations for all three teams the rest of 2023? Although it’s very unlikely that any of the teams will win a championship this year, you cannot be upset with the position all three are in.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Chase For Another Playoff Run
After a playoff series loss in five games to the New York Knicks, Cavs fans are hoping that the team retools in the off-season to help shape the team’s future. With a struggling bench, the front office will surely look to bring in some veteran players to fill in needs for another playoff run in 2024.
With the season starting in October, Cleveland should be in the thick of the playoff race within the first three months of the season. But with the likes of the historic Boston Celtics, tough Philadelphia 76ers, the fearful Milwaukee Bucks and now the newest rival Knicks, the East will be tough once again in 2023-24.
The Cavs have a lot of potential to be great next season, especially with superstar player Donovan Mitchell, clutch guard Darius Garland, and big man Jarrett Allen. With JB Bickerstaff back in the fold, expect the wine and gold to be good once again.
Prediction: 53-29, third in the East, second-round playoff loss in 2024.
Cleveland Guardians: Still A Long Season Ahead
The Cleveland Guardians are probably not where they thought they would be. Below .500 with a struggling offense despite signing former Padre Josh Bell and bringing back its young, star players, the team should be reminded that the season is still young.
After surprising everyone by making the playoffs and nearly taking down the Aaron Judge-led Yankees, Guardians fans expected another strong year, and have been disappointed so far. The offense has struggled, their star players aren’t hitting as well, and standout right fielder Oscar “Spongebob” Gonzalez was sent down to the minors due to his poor performance this season. Cleveland isn’t very happy sitting at 16-19 and if Tito and the Guardians don’t turn it around, it could be a long season.
Fortunately, the team has been here before. Last season, the team was 16-19 around this time with their opponent also being the Detroit Tigers. The Guardians finished 92-70 winning the division and anyone who doubts this team can make a turnaround should be patient.
Prediction: 88-74, 1st AL Central, wild card playoff loss
Cleveland Browns: A Great Roster On Paper But Can They Win Games?
The same old story for the past five years in Cleveland has been a great roster but poor performance. Starting in 2019, the Browns traded for star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr, only for him to complain that he did not get the ball, and later won a Super Bowl with the Rams.
They finally made the playoffs in 2020, but have missed each season since. They finished 8-9 in 2021 and decided quarterback Baker Mayfield wasn’t enough, trading three first-round picks for superstar and controversial quarterback DeShaun Watson. After serving his suspension, Watson went 3-3 and didn’t impress that much in the 7-10 season.
Now in a loaded AFC North, which includes the uprising Steelers, Super Bowl contender Bengals, and the Ravens who resigned star QB Lamar Jackson, all three teams could make the playoffs after posting winning records in 2022. In the wildcard race, the Browns will likely have to battle against the Jets with Aaron Rodgers, the electric Herbert-led Chargers, the star-studded Dolphins, along with their divisional rivals. It will be a tough and competitive year, and barring injuries will likely see Watson and the Browns playing golf in January.
Prediction: 8-9, 4th AFC North, missed playoffs
It is a good time to be a hopeful Cleveland sports fan in 2023. All three teams have the potential to be really good but also disappoint. With all three teams good on paper, it’ll be interesting to see who outperforms and who leaves fans wanting more.