With the majority of Cleveland entrenched in the Cleveland Cavaliers playoff game against the Boston Celtics, the Browns still made the news as the NFL 2015 season schedule release was at 8 p.m. on Tuesday night.
The Browns 2015 season is highlighted by two primetime contests, with a rematch on Thursday Night Football being the first of the two against the Cincinnati Bengals on November 5th. For the first time since losing to the Baltimore Ravens 16-0 back in 2009, the Browns will return to Monday Night Football—again against the Ravens on November 30th at home.
Since it is entirely too early to predict the team’s record, especially without knowing what they will do in the 2015 NFL Draft, here are a few interesting tidbits about each of the Browns games this season.
Week 1: At the New York Jets
For the second straight season, the Browns hit the road for their season opener. Taking on a revamped Jets secondary with the re-additions of Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie and former Brown Buster Skrine, whoever wins the starting QB job (Josh McCown, Johnny Manziel or potential draft pick) for the Browns will have a face a stiff defensive test in their first game of the season.
Week 2: Home vs the Tennessee Titans
Owners of the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Titans could boast a shiny new rookie QB if they choose to go that direction next Thursday. Either way, the Browns aggressive defense should be feasting on an inferior Titans team early and often in this one.
Week 3: Home vs the Oakland Raiders
New offensive coordinator John DeFilippo should be able to provide the Browns with plenty of insight into his former QB, Derek Carr, in this one. Picking No. 4 next Thursday, Oakland has the opportunity to make a splash—or they could be a potential trade partner for some team looking to go up and get Marcus Mariota (hint, hint…Cleveland).
Week 4: At the San Diego Chargers
West coast games are never easy, add in the fact that the Chargers have one of the Top QBs in the game in Philip Rivers, and this may be a tough one for the Browns. Now if they decide to move Rivers before the draft, things could be very, very different.
Week 5: At the Baltimore Ravens
In a re-match of the Browns final game of the 2014 season, Cleveland may not actually have to start a guy off their practice squad at QB. However, with four games before this and a history of bad luck—you really never know when it comes to the Browns (joking, I think).
Week 6: Home vs the Denver Broncos
After getting three easier matchups to start the season, the Broncos and Peyton Manning present the third game of a potentially difficult stretch. Aside from the return of T.J. Ward to Cleveland, this could be an ugly game—unless we get some cold, wet October weather in Cleveland.
Week 7: At the St. Louis Rams
When the 2015 opponents were originally released, this was a game circled as a potential win for the Browns. However, the Rams went out and added Nick Foles, have a tough defense and can only continue to do damage in the 2015 NFL Draft. The Browns are in for a major test in this one.
Week 8: Home vs the Arizona Cardinals
Arizona always has a tough defense who can get after the QB, but like the Browns, their own QB situation this time of year is usually a little murky. If Carson Palmer can stay healthy, this has the makings of being quite the matchup to start the month of November for the Browns.
Week 9: At the Cincinnati Bengals **Thursday Night Football
Last season, the Browns absolutely embarrassed the Bengals on Thursday Night Football in Cincinnati—and you better believe the Bengals have not forgotten. Playing on a short week, this could be a very tough matchup for the Browns, especially if they are in a battle against Arizona just four days prior.
Week 10: At the Pittsburgh Steelers
The Browns first matchup against the Steelers on the season comes after a mini-bye thanks to their Week 9 Thursday Night game. With a lot of change occurring on the Steelers defense, some think this could be the year the Browns can pull off a sweep against their arch-rival. Let’s win the first one before we talk sweep.
Week 11: Bye Week
Week 12: Home vs the Baltimore Ravens **Monday Night Football
Making their illustrious return to Monday Night Football against the last team they played on it (back in 2009), the Browns will be well-rested for this one. Having been at the last primetime home game, First Energy Stadium will be electric for this game—and the Browns should feed off their energy.
Week 13: Home vs the Cincinnati Bengals
Just like last season, the Browns host the Bengals at home after first heading to Cincy for Thursday Night Football. Hopefully the Browns remember to show up, unlike last year.
Week 14: Home vs the San Francisco 49ers
In opposite fashion of the St. Louis Rams game, when this game was on the opponents release it was one to fear. After a number of key offseason losses and retirements, the 49ers do not look as tough as they once looked.
Week 15: At the Seattle Seahawks
If you are thinking potential playoff push for the Browns, this is the ultimate buzzkill of a game to have in Week 15. On the bright side, you better believe this writer is heading to Seattle for this one.
Week 16: At the Kansas City Chiefs
Though less of a dominating team than Seattle, a road game against the Chiefs with potential playoff hopes on the line is tough. Doing it at the end of December? Let’s just say, this is going to be a very tough one for the Browns.
Week 17: Home vs the Pittsburgh Steelers
After two straight road games, the Browns head home to close out their season against their arch rival. Nothing is more fun than these two closing out the season, unless the Browns are out of playoff contention—then it won’t even matter.
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