This year has to be the breakthrough season for Cleveland, right? After recovering from an 0-16 mark in 2017, interim head coach Gregg Williams took over at midseason in the place of Hue Jackson and guided the Browns to a 7-8-1 record. Still under .500, but the trajectory is moving upwards.
With Baker Mayfield throwing for 3,725 yards and 27 touchdowns as a rookie, this excitement was already high for his 2nd-year followup. When Cleveland acquired star receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. from the Giants in a trade 2 months ago, the buzz turned into hype.
Out goes Williams and in comes Freddie Kitchens, who was promoted from offensive coordinator and associate head coach. He has a full complement of weapons on offense to attack this season’s schedule, which is currently leaking out.
Here’s the list of opponents for 2019.
- Two games each against the Bengals, Ravens and Steelers
- Home contests with the Bills, Dolphins, Rams, Seahawks and Titans
- Road trips to New England, New York (Jets), Arizona, Denver and San Francisco
Let’s take a look at how the schedule shakes out on a week to week basis. This is official now.
Cleveland Browns 2019 Schedule
Cleveland Browns 2019 Schedule Matchups & Best Games
The No. 1 goal for this season will have to be for Cleveland to post a winning record in the AFC North. This occurred last season, but a 3-2-1 mark is too close for comfort for a team with not only playoff intentions but possibly AFC title ones.
Even with last year’s roster, Cleveland swept its in-state rival Cincinnati. With Pittsburgh off-loading Antonio Brown to Oakland, there’s an onus on the Steelers to replenish its receiver corps. If that doesn’t occur, the Browns should have the upper hand there, as well, as it has stocked together a potentially lethal pass rush and secondary.
Home games against Buffalo and Miami are potential layups, as both have to prove they can throw the ball before being considered threats on offense. Travelling to Arizona can be put in the “should win” category, as well.
The real challenges, and potentially the most anticipated games of the season, come when Cleveland faces off with last year’s Super Bowl teams at New England and home against the Rams.
The Patriots game will be a late afternoon matchup at Foxborough, and will be yet another in the annual series of “Tom Brady versus the Next Young QB.” Brady bested Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs last season in the AFC Championship Game, and Mayfield is similarly poised for a breakout 2019 campaign.
The talk before the Rams game will be how the revamped Browns passing attack will fare against the pass rush of Aaron Donald and the secondary prowess of Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. However, look out for Cleveland’s own pass rush in Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon to get in Jared Goff’s grill.
The former No. 1 draft pick was in the top-5 last year in passing yardage, but combined for 5 picks and no touchdowns in matchups against the Bears last December and the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Both teams harassed him in the pocket, which Cleveland can replicate.
Split those massive games, post a 5-1/4-2 mark in the division and take advantage of the easier games, and the Browns will be more than poised for their first playoff berth since 2002.