CLEVELAND — Now that we know Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has been suspended for six games, we can look ahead to the schedule to see what opponents he will be missing during the 2022 NFL season and what it could mean for the team.
“I think six games, they’ve got to feel like that’s probably a win – especially considering the schedule,” former Cleveland Browns quarterback Tim Couch said during Monday’s edition of the Ultimate Cleveland Sports Show.
Here are the first six games of the 2022 season for the Cleveland Browns that will be played without Watson as Jacoby Brissett is expected to take the starting QB position:
- Sept. 11: Browns at Carolina Panthers
- Sept. 18: Browns host New York Jets
- Sept. 22: Browns host Pittsburgh Steelers
- Oct. 2: Browns at Atlanta Falcons
- Oct. 9: Browns host Los Angeles Chargers
- Oct. 16: Browns host New England Patriots
Barring any change in the suspension after a possible appeal, Watson would officially take the field with the Browns on the road against the Baltimore Ravens on Oct. 23.
Couch said he believes the Browns have the ability to win three or four of these first six games.
“I think week one, they beat Carolina,” he said. “If it’s Baker Mayfield, the Browns are going to be extra motivated in that game – especially to get after him.”
He also feels the Jets, Steelers and Falcons are also “winnable games,” but admits that the Pittsburgh battle will be the toughest of that stretch.
When it comes to the Chargers, Couch predicts this one is a likely loss for the Browns.
“I don’t think they win that game without Deshaun Watson. LA is a heck of a football team. I don’t think they can win that one.”
Couch said the Patriots game could go either way, but he thinks New England has the edge at this point.
“If I had to pick right now, I would say that I would probably lean toward New England on that game without Deshaun Watson.”
The decision to suspend Watson for six games for violations of the league’s personal conduct policy was announced Monday morning with multiple sources citing the ruling from former U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson.
Prior to the decision, Watson and the NFLPA issued a joint statement late Sunday announcing they would respect Robinson’s ruling and not file an appeal, suggesting the NFL should do the same.
If an appeal is filed, however, it must be done within the next three days. The situation would then be heard by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or a designee to make the final decision.
Robinson’s ruling comes after Watson was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women while he was with the Houston Texans. Watson does not face any criminal charges connected to the allegations, however, as two grand juries in Texas didn’t issue an indictment.
Watson has also settled most of the civil lawsuits against him – including reports early Monday that settlements had been agreed upon for three of his four remaining lawsuits.