16. Week 3 vs New York Jets
In week three, the Browns will have their first regular season night game since the 2015 Monday Night Football fiasco against the Baltimore Ravens. This time around, they look to have a much easier task than against Baltimore, when the New York Jets come to town.
The Jets were something of a surprise team last year, going 5-11 when many expected them to get one lone win at most. Instead the Browns were the winless team, losing to Jets in week five last season.
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However, the talent Cleveland has acquired since then and now gives them not only a slight edge, but likely a sizable one. To say New York doesn’t stand a chance is simply not true. But to say that Cleveland has the advantage in this matchup is almost a certainty.
Expect this game to be won on the back of Cleveland’s defense, especially if rookie quarterback Sam Darnold is playing for the Jets. New York possesses a great secondary with Marcus Maye, Jamal Adams, and Trumaine Johnson. If the running backs can find a strong foothold, this game could be Cleveland’s cleanest win of the season.
15. Week 15 @ Denver Broncos
The big X factor here is quarterback Case Keenum. If Keenum plays like he did in Minnesota in 2017, this game will fly up the list. If he plays like the less-than-average journeyman quarterback he has been for the rest of his career, this should certainly be a Browns win.
Denver has a world-class defense, but they are quickly starting to lose their star pieces they once had. They lost cornerback Aqib Talib to the Rams, as well as some other depth pieces across the defense. Of course, Von Miller is still in orange, so one should expect the defense to still be solid.
The keys here lie in whether or not Cleveland’s passing game can overcome Denver’s defense, and if the Browns’ front seven can overwhelm the smaller Case Keenum. This game is an uncertainty, but until Keenum shows sustained success, it should be a relatively easy one for the Browns.