Cleveland Browns 75th Season Schedule Prediction
With the third iteration of the Cleveland Browns franchise in the NFL, there have only been three winning seasons: 2002 (made the playoffs, lost in Wild Card Game to Pittsburgh), 2007 (10-6, narrowly missed the playoffs), and 2020 (11-5, #6 seed in playoffs, lost to Kansas City in Divisional Round).
A majority of the 2020 roster is returning for the 2021 season, and this year a new tweak is featured in the schedule. The new NFL schedule will feature 17 games in the regular season (16 regulars, plus a bonus game against a random out-of-conference opponent), which in turn cuts down the number of preseason games from four to three. With that change now in effect, here is my prediction for how the 2021 season, the Browns 75th anniversary season, will turn out, game-by-game, and scores.
Week 1: Sun. Sep 12 @ Kansas City Chiefs (Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City)
Verdict: L [28-6] – I think the Browns will once again drop their season opener. Arrowhead will be raucous again come September, and Cleveland just won’t gain any traction.
Week 2: Sun. Sep 19 vs Houston Texans (FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland)
Verdict: W [31-17] – At least they’ll take the home opener. While Deshaun Watson is good, Cleveland is out for revenge from 2018.
Week 3: Sun. Sep 26 vs Chicago Bears (FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland)
Verdict: W [17-3] – Last time these two teams met, it was part of the Browns’ 0-16 season. This time, the Brownies will shut down Chicago’s offense in a somewhat low-scoring game.
Week 4: Sun. Oct 3 @ Minnesota Vikings (U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN)
Verdict: W [24-13] – This one could be a major breakout game for Denzel Ward. He’ll have Adam Thielen locked up, and the Browns cruise to a 3-1 start to the season.
Week 5: Sun. Oct 10 @ LA Chargers (SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA)
Verdict: L [21-10] – I thought this one could go either way at first. What led me to designate a loss here was the solid play of Austin Ekeler.
Week 6: Sun. Oct 17 vs Arizona Cardinals (FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland)
Verdict: W [33-21] – This is the bonus game. I think that Kyler will be outdueled by Baker here in the battle of Oklahoma quarterbacks.
Week 7: Thu. Oct 21 vs Denver Broncos* (FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland)
Verdict: W [34-10] -The Broncos have been down the past couple of seasons. The Browns have been known to play well recently in primetime games. This one’s headed for a blowout.
Week 8: Sun. Oct 31 vs Pittsburgh Steelers (FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland)
Verdict: W [24-20] – I expect a close one here. It’ll be tough to tell depending on the weather, but Nick Chubb will have another big game here.
Week 9: Sun Nov 7 @ Cincinnati Bengals (Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati)
Verdict: L [28-17] – After getting swept by the Browns last season, the Bengals come out with a win. Joe Burrow has something to prove in year 2.
Week 10: Sun Nov 14 @ New England Patriots (Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA)
Verdict: L [20-13] – Unfortunately the Browns just don’t seem to travel too well when they play the Patriots. That trend will continue here.
Week 11 Sun Nov 21 vs Detroit Lions (FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland)
Verdict: W [27-10] – Jared Goff is the new QB in town for Detroit, and Myles Garrett will give him a rude awakening. Browns maul the Lions.
Week 12 Sun Nov 28 @ Baltimore Ravens* (M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore)
Verdict: L [35-16] – First of two games against the Ravens with a bye week in between. Eesh. This one goes to the Ravens.
Week 13 BYE WEEK
Week 14 Sun Dec 12 vs Baltimore Ravens (FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland)
Verdict: W [21-17] – I think a season split with Baltimore is on deck. Unlike last year, this game is not in primetime.
Week 15 Sat/Sun Dec 18/19 vs Las Vegas Raiders (FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland)
Verdict: W [17-6] – It was a close game last time these two matched up. Weather will play less of a factor, and I think the Browns take this one.
Week 16 Sat Dec 25 @ Green Bay Packers (Lambeau Field, Green Bay)
Verdict: L [20-3] – I still think Aaron Rodgers will be the head honcho of the Packers’ offense. And the Browns’ offense will go quiet as a mouse on Christmas Day.
Week 17 Mon Jan 3 @ Pittsburgh Steelers (Heinz Field, Pittsburgh)
Verdict: W [16-10] – This is a bit of a bold prediction. Hopefully, the Browns haven’t forgotten the incitement of drama by JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Week 18 Sun Jan 9 vs Cincinnati Bengals (FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland)
Verdict: W [21-10] – The season will end with a win at home against Cincinnati. Burrow will probably be shut down by the stifling Browns’ D.
Final Record: 11-6
* – Denotes Primetime Game
I know that I may be getting my hopes up, but I think that it will be interesting to watch how this team comes together. I don’t think that they will take the AFC North crown away from the Baltimore Ravens, but I do think they have a shot at maybe a 5 or 6 seed in the playoffs. The Browns are back, and they are back for revenge.