The 2020 NFL schedule has been released, and the Cleveland Browns are hoping to navigate it into a playoff berth for the first time since 2002.
The Cleveland Browns had a great season for Cleveland football standards to years ago. Behind rookies Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward and Nick Chubb, Cleveland was half a game within .500, despite firing former head coach Hue Jackson before the end of season. With Freddie Kitchens ascending to the big chair, what could have gone wrong in 2019?
Turns out, a lot went wrong for the Browns last season. Kitchens was in so over his skis, it was ridiculous. Mayfield regressed in somewhat of a sophomore slump. Naturally, Kitchens and general manager John Dorsey were ousted before the calendar flipped. 6-10 didn’t cut it last year, and surely won’t cut it this year, even if there is a new regime in place.
Together, head coach Kevin Stefanski and general manager Andrew Berry had a great first draft. They added offensive tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. in the first round to help keep Mayfield upright. Landing Jim Thorpe Award winner Grant Delpit in the second round feels like a steal. With a few big moves in free agency, Cleveland feels like its trending up, but how good will the Browns be?
Now that their 2020 schedule has been released, here is a game-by-game breakdown of what could happen to the Browns in the 2020 NFL season.
Even if the Browns are perceived as the third-best team in its own division, Cleveland does have the roster to hang tough with one of the better teams in football. Though they won’t have the offense to keep pace with Lamar Jackson, look for the Browns to make it respectable when they take on the Baltimore Ravens in the Charm City this year. Ravens, 30-23.
Catching Cleveland completely off-guard, they overlook their in-state rival in the Cincinnati Bengals when they come to town. The Browns will mistake the Bengals for being a 2-14 team like they were a season ago. Cincinnati won’t be the worst team in football again, as the Bengals put one more touchdown on the board vs. the Browns up in Cleveland. Bengals, 28-21.
Though the Washington Redskins will be a better team under first-year head coach Ron Rivera, he won’t have the quarterback necessary to best the growing connection between Baker Mayfield and head coach Kevin Stefanski. Beating a lackluster team at home like Washington won’t move the needle, but it’ll help show Mayfield is still a franchsie quarterback in the NFL. Browns, 30-24.
Dysfunction has many variations, as showcased by the high-end version of it in the Dallas Cowboys and the typically low-end version of it in the Browns. Even if this game is at Jerryworld, Dak Prescott will spend half of it on his back, as the Browns’ pass rush will prove too formidable for him to beat Baker Mayfield and company in his building. Browns, 34-28.