Cleveland Browns’ 2016 Schedule: First Half Analysis
It’s never too soon to take a peek into the regular season schedule for the Browns, which begins just around four months from now. Some people are (already) predicting doom and gloom and noted that the Browns are underdogs in each contest. However, that was prior to the draft and many things can happen before September – including player development and injuries. Let’s take a gander at the team’s first eight games.
Away Contests: Week 1 @ Philadelphia, Week 3 @ Miami, Week 4 @ Washington, Week 6 @ Tennessee, and Week 7 @ Cincinnati
I have to admit that this stretch is not a murderer’s row as some people are making it out to be. All five contests are winnable; yes even the game against the Bengals. I admittedly am always a Browns optimist (until things crash and burn), but do not envision the type of drubbing that the Browns are accustomed to. Realistically I could see two or three wins coming against this group of foes. If they were against Philadelphia and Tennessee – that would be even sweeter (as the Browns will get their future draft picks, and losses will only help with draft positioning). The team will be turning heads by the way the play well on the road.
Home Contests: Week 2 vs. Baltimore, Week 5 vs. New England, and Week 8 vs. New York (Jets)
Many are in the camp that “the sky is falling”, when previewing the early schedule for games played at First Energy Stadium. The matchup against the Patriots, I will concede that as a loss. This only becomes solidified if Tom Brady’s suspension remains upheld and this is his first game in 2016. The other two contests can be had by the orange and brown though. The Ravens’ drafting has steadily been in decline, and I don’t see a tremendous roster. If this defense can put pressure on Joe Flacco, then a victory is likely for the home team. Who knows what will happen for gang green? Will Christian Hackenburg be their signal caller for this game? If that’s the case, I would feel comfortable penciling in a “W” for the Browns.
Conclusion: The first half of this season’s schedule is not as daunting as several people are leading us to believe. I firmly envision three to five victories during this stretch – any more would be excellent and any fewer would be a disappointment. Sorry, I refuse to believe that the team will go 1 – 15 and be the worst team in the league.