An (Optimistic) Preview of the Cleveland Browns’ 2019 Schedule

Co-Written by Chi Okare, Nick Kerver, and Atticus Hughes

 

Here we are everyone, time for everyone’s favorite “Schedule Game.” It is always fun to project what the season will look like when each team’s schedule comes out, and with all the Browns hype surrounding Baker Mayfield, Freddie Kitchens, Odell Beckham, and more, the buzz around this team is unlike anything I’ve ever seen as a Browns fan. So, with the help of my pals Atticus and Nick, let’s get right to it!

usa_today_10362092.0.jpgDawgs by Nature

Sunday, September 8: vs. Titans, 1:00 PM

Chi: The Titans are having internal issues at QB, not knowing whether to commit to Marcus Mariota long term with his injury issues. Despite coming off a playoff appearance, this leaves them vulnerable to be the Browns’ first season opener win since 2004.

Nick: Ironically, the last time the Browns won their home opener, it was in 2015 with a 28-14 win led by Johnny Manziel (remember him?). Tennessee has shown ways to be scrappy in the past few seasons and claw out some unexpected wins, but I expect Baker to lead the Browns to victory in the home opener.

Atticus: Rematch baby. After the Browns bested the Titans in Fox NFL’s Best fan base bracket challenge championship, I foresee the season opener resulting in a similar finish. With all the hype building for Week One, it’s easy to think the Browns might flop, but under this new regime, with Baker at the helm, this is shaping up to be the season opener all Browns fans are hoping for.

 

Monday, September 16: @ Jets, 8:15 PM

Chi: In Odell Beckham’s return to New York, under the lights where he always shows up, I think he has a huge game (120+ yards, 2 touchdowns) and leads the Browns to their 2nd straight win over the Jets.

Nick: The Browns were the winners in the Odell Beckham Jr. sweepstakes. The Jets were the winners in the Le’Veon Bell sweepstakes. This matchup comes down to which defense can hold what they need. Browns edge the Jets here.

Atticus: Baker vs Darnold part 2. This time however both teams boast shiny new toys in Odell and Le’Veon. I don’t think it changes the result, Browns take primetime by storm.

 

Sunday, September 22: vs. Rams, 8:20 PM

Chi: This has the opportunity to be the Browns’ coming out party. A primetime chance (at home) to back up all the hype they have accrued this offseason. However, this is still a team coming off a Super Bowl appearance they’re playing. I’ll take the Rams here.

Nick: This is probably the first game for Browns fans to circle on their calendar – the first Sunday Night Football game the Browns have played since 2008. Baker will have his moments, but I think the Rams will ultimately be victorious. Hopefully, this game also features a strong Collinsworth slide-in (see the Internet if you do not get this reference).

Atticus: The Browns will prove their legitimacy in this game. I don’t think they’ll take out the defending NFC champs, but I do think this game will make for some exhilarating Sunday Night Football. Remember Chiefs vs Rams last year? Maybe not to that magnitude but a kid can dream. The Rams experience and depth will be too much for the Browns to match this early in the season.

usa_today_11919674.0.jpgDawgs by Nature

Sunday, September 29: @ Ravens, 1:00 PM

Chi: The blueprint to beat the Ravens is out after their playoff game against the Chargers this past January. Yes, Lamar Jackson will be a year better. But if they continue to use him as a runner primarily, he might not even be healthy for this game, let alone easy to game plan against. Not to mention, the Ravens lost their star linebacker, CJ Mosely, to the Jets. The Browns will take this one.

Nick: I attended the October slugfest in Cleveland in what turned out to be Hue Jackson’s third and final win with the Browns as head coach last season. The matchup in Baltimore was fun to watch despite the loss. The Ravens have lost a lot on defense this season yet seemed to be firing on all cylinders until their playoff loss to the Chargers. Honestly, I think it’s a toss up, but I will say the Ravens win.

Atticus: The Browns went toe-to-toe with the Ravens in both matchups last year, splitting them an even 1-1, this year the Browns took massive leaps forward as the Raven’s defensive powerhouse saw some regression. Defensive coordinators around the league will have Jackson figured out by this point and the Browns will roll.

 

Monday, October 7: @ 49ers, 8:15 PM

Chi: The Browns get their third chance this early in the season to show out in front of the nation, and I believe this is the game where they will put the league on notice with a dominant Monday Night performance. I’ll take the Browns by at least 3 scores.

Nick: This Monday Night Football thing is cool. The Browns are winning this one.

Atticus: I’d have to agree with Chi on this one, third time’s the charm. The first two primetime games will be split, but this will be a Browns statement to the league, a universal DAWG CHECK if you will.

 

Sunday, October 13: vs. Seahawks, 1:00 PM

Chi: The Seahawks are historically a team that turns it on in mid-November and rides that wave into the playoffs. This held true last season, as they were only 4-5 after 9 games and won 6 of their last 7 to get into the playoffs in the NFC. I think the Browns will take advantage of this slow starting team and protect home field.

Nick: Seattle will be a playoff contender again but have never been known for fast starts. Also, congrats to Russell Wilson on being the highest-paid player in NFL history. The game itself will be rather even, but features the situation of a team from the Pacific coming to Cleveland for a 1:00 start. Give me the Browns in a thriller.

Atticus: At this point in the season it’s no doubt Browns fans will be buzzing, and a return to Cleveland for the traditional 1 O’Clock game could be dangerous for the Seahawks, I see this being a hard fought battle, but the Browns coming out on top.

 

Bye Week- (Remember the jokes where we were grateful the Browns couldn’t lose this week?)

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Sunday, October 27: @ Patriots, 4:25 PM

Chi: Having 2 weeks to prepare for a game for the Patriots is one of the best gifts the Browns were given in this schedule. However, Bill Belichick scheming against a rookie HC in Freddie Kitchens seems like an unfair matchup. As much as I think these teams are not so far apart talent wise, I don’t think the Browns are at this point yet to go into Foxboro and win. I take the Pats in this one.

Nick: A great midseason test. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick still look like they will be contending for Super Bowls for the next 100 years. The Patriots have some questions defensively, and this game is looking like a shootout. That said, big-game experience wins, and the Pats will pull out a win at home.

Atticus: Foxboro is arguably the toughest place to play in the country, I foresee a similar situation to Kansas City last year, we walk in with our swagger-filled sophomore QB and put up a good fight, but the Pats prevail.

 

Sunday, November 3: @ Broncos, 4:25 PM

Chi: The Browns, for some reason, take the road to go to Denver and face the Broncos for the second year in a row. Baker Mayfield struggled in his game their last year overall, even though he was able to elevate his game when it mattered in the 4th quarter. That gives me confidence going into this year and their matchup with Joe Flacco. I’ll take the Browns here, which would run their record by my predictions to 6-2 (!!!)

Nick: Seriously, we have to go to Denver again? Can’t they come to Cleveland and the Browns go to Nashville, perhaps explore somewhere different? Anyhow, the Browns fill their Joe Flacco quota, which means my Twitter timeline will be filled with “is Joe Flacco elite?” Tweets. The defense will have one of their best efforts here in 2019, and will give the Browns a win and a 5-3 first half of the season.

Atticus: Denver Again? The Browns know what it’s like to win a thriller in mile high stadium, that being said, Baker Mayfield and company will take mile high and show the Broncos what “Elite” looks like. Browns win.

 

Sunday, November 10: vs. Bills, 1:00 PM

Chi: Week 9- The return of Kareem Hunt from his suspension. Say what you want about his controversial signing, but his talent on the field is undeniable. Assuming he is back on the field for this game, the combo of him and Nick Chubb will-no hyperbole- be the best running back duo in the league. They will run all over the Bills, who finished 16th in the league in rushing defense and lead the Browns to the win.

Nick: Kareem Hunt makes his Browns debut in 2019. The offense is in full gear and the stadium will be electric just like the last season’s home finale. Give me the Browns by a bunch.

Atticus: Kareem Hunt. That is all. But really this will be like a midseason trade for the Browns to inject new life, except we don’t give anything up for him. With the danger of Baker, Odell, and Jarvis in the passing game, there will be holes galore for Chubb and Hunt to run through, Browns win.

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Thursday, November 14: vs. Steelers, 8:20 PM

Chi: I’ll take the Browns here to run their primetime record to 3-1 for the season. I just don’t think the gap between the Steelers and Browns was that big last year, and now the Steelers have lost arguably their 2 best players while the Browns made huge moves in the offseason. I’ll take Cleveland to light up the Dawg Pound under the lights and dominate the Steelers.

Nick: My divisional hot take is that the Steelers are not as bad as everyone thinks they are. Yes, they lost Brown and Bell but they still have enough talent to compete for a wild-card spot. Also, Baker lost his only matchup against Pittsburgh last year, struggling in the defeat. Both teams will be hungry but I am going to take a surprise pick and say Steelers in a close one. Of course, the Browns might make me look like a fool in this game and I wouldn’t complain.

Atticus: At this point, the Browns and the fan base is on Cloud 9, 7-2 entering our first match-up with the Steelers. I see the Browns taking advantage of the Steelers depleted roster, and getting revenge for all those years of belittlement, Browns win.

 

Sunday, November 24: vs. Dolphins, 1:00 PM

Chi: 1. Warm weather teams don’t like Cleveland in December. 2. The Dolphins starting QB is Ryan Fitzpatrick (as of now) 3. The Browns will be sniffing a playoff clinch in these next few games. No reason to see them taking their foot off the gas here.

Nick: Breaking news, it gets cold in November in Cleveland. Also, the Dolphins are far inferior to the Browns in just about every facet and the Browns will be chasing a playoff spot. Browns win.

Atticus: Weather, Cleveland is not Miami come December 2nd. The Browns will be pushing to make the playoffs for the first time in a bazillion years. This combination makes for a scary sight for the visiting Dolphins, Browns win.

 

Sunday, December 1: @ Steelers, 4:25 PM

Chi: I have been a Browns fan for far too long to pick them sweeping the Steelers. As much as I’d love to see it happen, I can’t pick it until I see it so I will take Pittsburgh to get this win, as a small consolation for what will likely be a disappointing season for them.

Nick: I had the Browns going 0-2 in the division up to this point. Calling it now, this game will have a double-digit comeback and a turning point for the Browns in their playoff push. The offense will have their breakout game here, putting up numbers in bunches. Browns pick up their biggest win of the season.

Atticus: In a perfect world MAYBE the Browns would sweep the Steelers, but I’ve picked the Browns in just about every matchup to this point. Facing the same team in a three-week span can be tough, especially when its a division rival. so I’ll take the Steelers. Maybe AB leaving finally gets their locker room back together.

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Sunday, December 8: vs. Bengals, 1:00 PM

Chi: After last year’s performances, the Browns have no reason to be intimidated or scared going into games vs. the Bengals. The Bengals are somewhat stuck in purgatory, not good enough to compete seriously nor bad enough to get a high draft pick. But definitely bad enough to lose to the Browns here.

Nick: Cincinnati appears to be finally committed to a rebuild and should not be too much of a problem for the Browns. Just stop Joe Mixon and A.J. Green and they will be fine. Browns win in this one.

Atticus: The Browns will be playing inspired football at this point. They will either have clinched a playoff position at this point, or this game could push them over the edge.  I can’t see a mediocre Bengals team playing the kind of football to take down the Browns at this point in the season, Browns Win.

 

Sunday, December 15: @ Cardinals, 4:05 PM

Chi: This game has the potential to be a big-time QB matchup between the last 2 Oklahoma signal callers, Baker Mayfield, and Kyler Murray. Even if it isn’t Murray, it’ll still have the allure of being a game with the last 2 #1 overall picks. But the Cardinals roster is very inferior to the Browns’ and playing indoor should help the Browns offense light up the scoreboard. I’ll take them in Freddie Kitchens’ successful return to Arizona.

Nick: As an early Christmas present, the NFL may give us Baker Mayfield vs. Kyler Murray. For the sole purpose of adhering to my 11-5 season prediction (spoiler alert), I am picking the Cardinals. I figure the Browns will have some bad bumps in the road somewhere so it might as well be the potential #1 overall proving himself.

Atticus: As Chi mentioned this has the ability to be a showdown between Oklahoma’s finest (Hopefully.) Baker also has something else to play for, we already know he’s not too fond of past coaches who he believes wronged him, Kliff Kingsbury. Baker left Texas Tech for Oklahoma because of Kingsbury, maybe he’s forgotten, or maybe we will see another Baker stare down. Browns easy.

 

Sunday, December 22: vs. Ravens, 1:00 PM

Chi: I think this game will be very hard fought, much like the Browns-Ravens game last year in Baltimore. Both teams will likely have playoffs on the table, and the Browns-Ravens matchup is obviously historically a very physical and tough game. I’ll take the Ravens here, as I think the Browns will have a better record coming into this game- meaning the Ravens will have more to play for.

Nick: This game will have big implications for both teams. However, Baker has already proven himself in big situations and this may be his biggest win yet. The new-look offense should overcome the Ravens and secure the win for the Browns. I also think the division will be clinched in this game, giving the fans at FirstEnergy Stadium even more reason to celebrate.

Atticus: The Browns and Ravens will enter this game in different positions, I think the Browns will already have secured a Playoff position, and the Raven’s will be clawing for a wild card spot. I can see the Ravens playing inspired football, and stealing one from the Browns.

 

Sunday, December 29: @ Bengals, 1:00 PM

Chi: By this game, the Browns, judging by my predictions, will have the playoffs, and likely the division, locked up. So, the Bengals do have a chance to win this game I suppose, as the Browns may be resting starters looking ahead to the playoffs. However, I will still take the Browns in this game, as Freddie Kitchens will not them overlook a chance to beat a divisional opponent to close out the regular season.

Nick: Even if a few starters rest for the playoffs at this point, the Browns are far superior to the Bengals. Based on my predictions, this game would lock up a winning record against divisional opponents as well, with the Browns winning the last four. Browns move to 4-0 in against the Bengals in the last two seasons.

Atticus: As Chi mentioned, the Browns will be looking ahead to bigger things in the Playoffs, but I don’t foresee Baker going easy on the Bengals franchise, even if Hue Jackson isn’t there. Browns win.

 

Final Records:

Chi: 12-4 (I mean…. Wow. just as Atticus said, yes I am being slightly optimistic, but none of these wins are ridiculous to think of as a possibility… We might just be looking at the fastest turnaround in a while in the NFL.)

Nick: 11-5, 1st in AFC North. I think give or take a win is a reasonable margin of error. (This could go better or worse than my NHL predictions).

Atticus: 12-4 (Yeah I’m optimistic, sue me.)

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