Week One – Carolina Panthers (Away)
With seventeen straight opening day losses need I say more? The Panthers are pressed to get it right this year with such a pedestrian division. However, we need to change the narrative with our team quickly, and no better time than the first game. Make no mistake the front half of the schedule is the easiest, so we need to take advantage. We need to win no matter what, whether that means Deshaun Watson or not.
Week Three – Pittsburgh Steelers (Home)
Thursday night primetime seems like the right way to right the wrongs of a season sweep last year against Pittsburgh. With their new-look offense, who knows how they move the ball and chew the clock? On the other side though, is a defense that has led the league in sacks for two years. In fact, over the past five years, no team has had as many sacks as they have (273 sacks). With playoff ambitions and a roster to prove it, this game is more than a must-win. It’s the beginning of separation in a very good conference. This game holds more weight because the division record is key to winning the crown.
Week Five – Los Angeles Chargers (Home)
After losing a five-point game last year, this is another must-win. The Chargers have added two pro bowl players to a very stout defense. With Justin Herbert under center this team on paper is a Superbowl contender, but so is Cleveland. This game could very well be a preview of any round of the playoffs. We want “all the smoke” on this one, that head-to-head win will play in our favor come January.
Week Six – New England Patriots (Home)
Should I bring up last year? I say not. With arguably the worst loss of the season in 2021, I fully expect us to return the favor by at least thirty-eight points. This team snuck in the playoffs last year, and we cannot allow that again. We have to play our part and beat the teams we are supposed to beat. Especially any team who went to the playoffs last year.
Week Ten – Buffalo Bills (Away)
Presumptive thought: the Bills are the cream of the crop of the AFC. This game would be a great measuring stick to attest to how much better or worse the Browns have gotten. As hungry as Josh Allen has gotten, no way this game comes easy. If Watson can emulate some playoff Patrick Mahomes, and beat the Wyoming gunslinger, in his own backyard, it would say a lot, to say the least.
Week Eleven – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Home)
Usually, an out-of-conference game means much less, but when you get a chance to put a loss in the hands of the world’s most overrated quarterback you do it. But with a great roster, this game is no easy bout. To me, this home game against the Bucs is a must-win. At this point in the season, any loss can dethrone you, and worse, allow an AFC North rival to pop their head up as a title contender. Especially at this point in the season.
Week Thirteen – Cincinnati Bengals (Away)
Division game, rival game, killing playoff dreams game. There are so many ways to see this game but I see it as a must-win. Dethroning the AFC champs in their own stadium, in December is just too juicy to pass up. Burrow and his upgraded offensive line won’t be easy to keep in check but we all know the Nick Chubb train is even harder to stop. Expect a battle, expect a win and expect this game to get the Bengals back to where they belong, at the bottom of the division.
Week Fourteen – Baltimore Ravens (Home)
Make no mistake the Ravens are going to be battling right with us for the AFC North title. This game will mean more than any game yet (assuming we have won the previous must-win games). Baltimore has the depth, weapons, defense, and of course: this Lamar Jackson guy who was an MVP of the league. All bias aside this is the Browns’ most difficult game and the best team we have to beat yet. This is the time of year Baltimore gets rolling and not to mention when depth and health come into play. I expect a bruising hard-fought game, but more than that I expect this game to be won on the leg of our kicker and not theirs.