The Cleveland Browns have been the hype beasts of the NFL offseason, but will that translate to wins over the course of the 2019 season?
The NFL has officially released the 2019 team schedules, and Browns fans should be ecstatic by what they see.
An offseason of hype highlighted by big-name additions like Odell Beckham Jr. and Kareem Hunt along with the expected development of Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, and, Jarvis Landry has landed Cleveland four primetime slots in 2019.
Now, until players suit up and start hitting each other on Sundays, all anyone can do is speculate, predict, and provide plenty of hot takes for the upcoming season.
With the most primetime games for Cleveland since 2008, how will the franchise respond to the added expectations?
Week 1: Browns vs. Titans, Sunday 1 p.m., Sept. 8
This will be the first opportunity for Cleveland’s star-studded offense to shine, but defense and the rushing attack will determine this game. Emotions and nerves could be running high amongst the Browns players, but the fans at First Energy Stadium will be rocking and do their best to swing some momentum. The new-look Browns prevail in a sloppy first game.
Prediction: Browns 23, Titans 17
Week 2: Browns @ Jets, Monday 8:15 p.m., Sept. 16
Sam Darnold and the Jets will be looking for revenge after last year’s loss to the winless Browns in week three on Thursday Night Football. Expect this game to be a shootout, but Beckham Jr’s. first return to New York since being traded will be a boost for the Browns offense down the stretch.
Prediction: Browns 31, Jets 28
Week 3: Browns vs. Rams, Sunday 8:20 p.m., Sept. 22
For the first time since 2008, the Browns have a Sunday Night Football game. However, hosting the reigning NFC champion Los Angeles Rams is never a small task. The Rams offense will prove to be too much for the Browns young core, as they run away with the game on national TV.
Prediction: Rams 38, Browns 24
Week 4: Browns @ Ravens, Sunday 1 p.m., Sept. 29
If they aren’t already, the Browns and Ravens will grow into each others’ biggest rivals in 2019. Both teams will have solid home-field advantage this season, which means they’ll likely split the season series. The Browns have only won once in Baltimore since 2010, which means Ravens get the job done at home, sending the Browns on a two-game skid.
Prediction: Ravens 24, Browns 20
Week 5: Browns @ 49ers, Monday 8:15 p.m., Oct. 7
The Browns third primetime game in five weeks will come down to which quarterback can outshine the other. San Francisco will certainly be much more competitive this season so long as Jimmy Garoppolo and Jerrick McKinnon stay healthy. However, Baker Mayfield will have too many weapons at his disposal for this game.
Prediction: Browns 28, 49ers 20
Week 6: Browns vs. Seahawks, Sunday 1 p.m., Oct. 13
The last time these two teams met up, Johnny Manziel was under center for Cleveland and Russell Wilson threw for three touchdowns en route to a 30-13 victory for Seattle in 2015. It will be interesting to see how the Browns respond to a short week. Going up against one of the top head coach-quarterback combinations in the league could derail the Browns.
Prediction: Seahawks 27, Browns 21
Week 7: BYE
Based on these predictions, the Browns will head into the bye week at 3-3.
Week 8: Browns @ Patriots, Sunday 4:25 p.m., Oct. 27
This matchup has Browns fans salivating. Fans all over the NFL will be tuning in to see if this game will be the proverbial “passing of the torch” from Tom Brady to Mayfield. However, there will be no torch-passing during this game as the Patriots will knock off the Browns in a close one. Cleveland will come in rested off of a bye, which can cause some troubles, and if this game was at home for the Browns then it might be a different story. But not yet, and not in Foxborough.
Prediction: Patriots 34, Browns 27
Week 9: Browns @ Broncos, Sunday 4:25 p.m., Nov. 3.
Going into Mile High to play the Broncos is never an easy game. However, the Browns proved last year that they were up to the task by defeating Denver on the road in week 15. Now granted, the Broncos *may have* upgraded at quarterback after letting Case Keenum go and bringing in Joe Flacco and their defense still has top-10 potential, but the Browns are the more talented team. Oh, and Kareem Hunt returns from suspension for this game.
Prediction: Browns 27, Broncos 17
Week 10: Browns vs. Bills, Sunday 1 p.m., Nov. 10
The good ole battle of Lake Erie. This game features two second-year quarterbacks battling it out in Josh Allen and Mayfield. The Browns have the better offense, but the Bills have the edge on defense. This will be a low-scoring affair, but being at home for the Browns helps give them the win.
Prediction: Browns 20, Bills 13
Week 11: Browns vs. Steelers, Thursday 8:20 p.m., Nov. 14
Another short week for the Browns might not work out for them in this game. Playing in three tough games before Pittsburgh comes to town for the first time in 2019 could be a recipe for disaster. The division rivals will likely split the season series, but Pittsburgh is in a better position to win this one.
Prediction: Steelers 28, Browns 21
Week 12: Browns vs. Dolphins, Sunday 1 p.m., Nov. 24
The back half of the Browns schedule looks favorable as of now, and that starts with the Dolphins in week 12. Miami seems to be in a rebuilding year, so this game shouldn’t cause too many problems for the Browns.
Prediction: Browns 34, Dolphins 17
Week 13: Browns @ Steelers, Sunday 4:25 p.m., Dec. 1
The Browns haven’t won at Heinz Field since 2003. But in a late-season game, the Browns will need to make a serious push for the division, and they will bring the energy to this matchup.
Prediction: Browns 30, Steelers 23
Week 14: Browns vs. Bengals, Sunday 1 p.m., Dec. 8
A healthy Andy Dalton and an improved offensive line will keep the Bengals respectable in 2019, but they do have the least amount of talent in the division. The Browns swept the season series from the Bengals last year, and they do it again this season. This could turn into an ugly one-sided game.
Prediction: Browns 42, Bengals 20
Week 15: Browns @ Cardinals, Sunday 4:05 p.m., Dec. 15
The Cardinals have made headlines this offseason by hinting at drafting Kyler Murray with the first overall pick and ousting second-year signal caller Josh Rosen. No matter who is under center for Arizona in 2019, they’ll be a team that is still on the rebuild. The Browns keep their late-season surge going in the desert.
Prediction: Browns 27, Cardinals 14
Week 16: Browns vs. Ravens, Sunday 1 p.m., Dec. 22
This game could have major playoff implications attached to it, as both these teams will be fighting for the division. As stated earlier, these teams will probably split the season series. Given that this game will be in Cleveland, the Browns will feed off the crowd’s energy and pull off a late touchdown drive to give them the win.
Prediction: Browns 23, Ravens 20
Week 17: Browns @ Bengals, Sunday 1 p.m., Dec. 29
With the playoffs in sight for Cleveland, nothing will stop this team from taking one last game from their in-state rival. With the Ravens and Steelers still playoff contenders, this game could very well still mean a lot for postseason seedings and berths. The Browns won’t let their foot off the gas in this one.
Prediction: Browns 31, Bengals 17
Final Record: 11-5
The Browns have a very front-loaded schedule this season, that will test this team’s ability early on. If they can weather the storm through tough teams in the first eight weeks, then they will put themselves in a good position for the weaker second-half of their season.
Barring any major injuries, the Browns have one of the most talented squads in the NFL. When September comes around, it will then fall on coaching and how well these young players can handle a season full of new and shiny expectations. If they can, then Cleveland will return to the playoffs for the first time in almost twenty years.