Cleveland is 0-14 this year, but that’s maybe not the saddest stat of the Browns season. Everyone expected Cleveland to be bad, but Cleveland has also been really bad relative to expectations. After losing against on Sunday to the Bills, and again failing to cover against the spread, the Browns are now just 2-12 against the spread this season.
Cleveland covered in games against the Dolphins and Titans early in the year, but the Browns have now failed to cover the spread in eight straight games. The graph below shows the number of points Cleveland was expected to lose by in black, and the actual points differential in orange. Since the Browns have been underdogs and lost every game, the range goes from 0 to -30:
If Cleveland can keep it up, the Browns will become the first team to go 2-14 against the spread since 1978, which is as far back as the PFR database goes:
As far as I can tell, only two teams since 1978 have had streaks of 10 straight losses against the spread, which Cleveland would match if they fail to cover in the final two games.
- The 1981 Colts went 2-14, with wins in the season opener and season finale sandwiched around a 14-game losing streak. Baltimore failed to cover in their final 10 losses of the season, too. That was due to one of the worst defenses in NFL history. In that 10 game against-the-spread-losing-streak, Baltimore allowed 367 points… 101 more than any other team.
- Three years later, the 1984 Oilers opened the season 0-10 with ten straight losses against the spread; Houston also failed to cover in the 1983 season finale, making this 11-game streak without covering or pushing the longest in the dataset.
The Browns have already become just the fourth team in NFL history to go 0-14, matching the 1976 Bucs, the 1980 Saints, and 2008 Lions. The Bucs played during a 14-game season, of course, while the Saints finished 1-15 and the Lions became the first 0-16 team in NFL history. That Detroit team seems poised to have some company, with the Chargers and Steelers being the final two opponents for the Browns this season.