With the official 2017-18 schedule of the Cleveland Browns finally out. Fans, media and players now get a chance to see where this team will stand. Sadly, the team will struggle towards respectability.
Thanks to a horrid 1-5 mark, owning the number one pick and investing heavily in a horrible offensive line and replacing Terrelle Pryor and re-upping OLB Jamie Collins, it’s be wise not to sleep on the Browns in 2017.
If Cleveland does indeed tab projected top overall prospect in edge rusher Myles Garrett as the No.1 overall pick in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft and tab on of the top quarterback prospects in Mitchell Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes III or Deshaun Watson, the once perennial laughingstock franchise could be well on its way to turning the proverbial corner.
While this may border on blind optimism, but Cleveland has one of the best offensive-minded head coaches in the game in Hue Jackson, rookies such as Cody Kessler, Corey Coleman will be more seasoned, a retooled O-line, and a likely revamped defense under new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, and the Dawgs could very well be ready to hunt this coming season.
Below is my way-too-early Cleveland Browns 2017 regular-season schedule projection.
Home games and predictions in bold.
Week 1 – Sep. 10 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers 1:00 p.m. (CBS): 30-6 vs. the Browns over their last 36 meetings. Until proven otherwise, the Steelers are the Browns daddy. Prediction: Loss
Week 2 – Sep. 17 at Baltimore Ravens 1:00 p.m. (CBS): Another early-season divisional game for the Browns, likely another loss. Aside from the Steelers, the former Browns own the new ones, like a bad Bank of America mortgage. Prediction: Loss
Week 3 – Sep. 24 at Indianapolis Colts 1:00 p.m. (CBS): This could either be a possible back-and-forth shootout, or a one-sided blowout. With this game being on the fast indoor track of Lucas Oil Stadium, I like Andrew Luck and the Colts in this one. Prediction: Loss
Week 4 – Oct. 1 vs. Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 p.m. (CBS): At 0-3, the Browns nab their first win at home over their AFC North in-state rivals from downstate, in a potential coming out party for DE Myles Garrett. Prediction: Win
Week 5 – Oct. 8 vs. New York Jets 1:00 p.m. (FOX): Uh-oh! A two-game winning streak for the Browns! Cleveland doubles their win total from 2016 in pummeling the Jets, as starting quarterback Cody Kessler has his best game as a Cleveland Brown. Prediction: Win
Week 6 – Oct. 15 at Houston Texans 1:00 p.m. (CBS): Cleveland gets a dose of reality, in what is Brock Osweilier’s homecoming. J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney overwhelm a still-new Browns O-line, still learning how to work together. Prediction: Loss
Week 7 – Oct. 22 vs. Tennessee Titans 1:00 p.m. (CBS): In what is another career day for Cody Kessler, the Browns put on a passing and edge-rushing clinic on the visiting Titans, in a back-and-forth thriller that harkens back to the Browns/Oilers shootouts of the 80’s. Prediction: Win
Week 8 – Oct. 29 Minnesota Vikings (London*) 9:30 a.m. (NFL Network): In an early game across the pond in London, the Cleveland Browns reach .500 at 4-4 with a win over the Minnesota Vikings. Thanks to timely sacks from Myles Garrett, Emmanuel Ogbah, and a potent running attack led by Isaiah Crowell and Joe Mixon, Cleveland eeks out a hard-fought victory. Prediction: Win
Week 9 – Nov. 5 BYE (A win, because it is the Browns after all)
Week 10 – Nov. 12 at Detroit Lions 1:00 p.m. (CBS): A long day for the Browns defense—most notably the secondary, as NFL MVP candidate Matthew Stafford surgically picks apart a hapless Browns team suffering the infamous post-London hangover. Prediction: Loss
Week 11 – Nov. 19 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars 1:00 p.m. (CBS): Always a tricky encounter with the former AFC Central rival Jacksonville Jaguars, the Jags travel north in December to a cold and hostile Dawg Pound, only to loss to a Browns team fighting for a AFC Wild Card. Prediction: Win
Week 12 – Nov. 26 at Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 p.m. (CBS): In what is a fight for Buckeye bragging rights, the Browns fall short in a low-scoring typical AFC North slugfest down in the Queen City. Prediction: Loss
Week 13 – Dec. 3 at Los Angeles Chargers 4:05 p.m. (CBS): In their only visit to Los Angeles—their first since 1989, the Browns stymie the high-powered Philip Rivers-led Chargers offense, which is now a year older, and likely will be out of contention in the AFC West by this time. Prediction: Win
Week 14 – Dec. 10 vs. Green Bay Packers 1:00 p.m. (FOX): It’s Aaron Rodgers and a likely red-hot Packers offense rolling into town on a cold December afternoon. Cleveland has a history of stealing games that they shouldn’t. Sadly, this is not one of them. Prediction: Loss
Week 15 – Dec. 17 vs. Baltimore Ravens 1:00 p.m. (CBS): Another late-season AFC North slugfest in blistery condition on the lakefront. Look for the up-and-coming Garrett/Ogbah combo to slow down long-time Browns nemesis, Joe Flacco in a last-second thriller. Prediction: Win
Week 16 – Dec. 24 at Chicago Bears 1:00 p.m. (CBS): Christmas comes early for long-suffering Browns fans, as Cleveland clinches a .500 season for the first time since 2007 in an easy win over the host Chicago Bears, as the Browns secondary picks off Mike Glennon three times, and Kessler passes for over 4,000 yards for the season. Prediction: Win
Week 17 – Dec. 31 at Pittsburgh Steelers 1:00 p.m. (CBS): Same story, same result vs. the Steelers. Another regular-season ending loss at the hands of their long-time bully from the Steel City (L)
Final record projection: 8-8