With under three months until the NFL preseason kicks off, the Cleveland Browns’ official schedule was released on Thursday. The Browns have the 17th toughest strength of schedule according to CBS, ranking right in the middle of the pack. The Browns should be able to make another playoff run with this schedule, but it all heavily relies on when Deshaun Watson will be eligible to play.
The Browns start their season off in Carolina, taking on the Panthers. This should be an easy win if Watson is our quarterback, but would certainly be even more fun if Baker Mayfield ends up taking the snaps for the Panthers. The next three games are against the Jets at home, rival Steelers at home and then the team travels to Atlanta to take on the Falcons. These three games should also all be fairly easy victories and the Browns will likely be off to a 4-0 start if things go as expected.
The schedule gets tough here, as the new-look Browns head back to First Energy Stadium and take on the LA Chargers. The Chargers have signed all sorts of firepower to add to their already young and powerful core. It will be a very tough matchup, but hopefully, the Dawg Pound shows out at the home game and can help bring home the win. Following the contest, the Browns have the Patriots, who killed the Browns last year, the Ravens and the defending AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals. It is a tough stretch of games, but the Browns should finish 2-2, or possibly even 3-1, in the four-game stretch prior to the week nine bye-week.
Following the week off, the Browns head south to Miami where they meet with Tyreek Hill and the Dolphins. Even with the new star power in town, the Browns should take the win. After the trip to Florida, the Browns head back up north to take on Josh Allen and the Bills in a tough, yet winnable, faceoff in Buffalo. The Browns then get to head home where they take on Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a Week 12 battle. If the Browns can win 2/3 of these games, they should be in good shape with six weeks left in the season.
In Week 13, the Browns should have an easy win in Deshaun Watson’s return to Houston against the Texans. In the follow-up to the quarterback’s homecoming, he and the team head to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals once again. It would be a shocker if the Browns once again were able to steal both games from the Bengals, but it has been done plenty of times before. The Browns then spend weeks 15 and 16 at home for the final times, taking on the Ravens and the Saints. Both are winnable, but like said before, it would be hard to believe if the Browns took both games against the Ravens this season. The season ends with a two-game road stint to Washington and Pittsburgh. The Browns should be able to pull off both wins with ease unless something drastic happens throughout the season to change that.
The realistic ceiling for the team this year is 13-4, while the floor is somewhere around 10-7 if Watson plays the whole season. Of course, it isn’t easy to make a prediction without knowing whether or not you will have your superstar quarterback running the show. Luckily, Jacoby Brissett is one of the better backup options in the league and should be able to hold his own if Watson is suspended for part of the year. Time will tell about the Browns’ success, but the schedule is definitely a favorable one.
*This article was posted by a student from Solon High School doing his Senior Project with Cleveland Sports Talk*