2. Week 8 @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Heinz Field, especially when divisional rivals visit, is a war zone of fans and Terrible Towels. The Browns will be walking into one of the NFL’s most hostile stadiums, bar none. Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown are especially deadly on their home turf, and the Browns will have a hard time shutting down just one point of attack.
As soon as one door closes for the Steelers, another one opens. It’s hard to shut down the Steelers offense in full, even for the league’s best defenses. The Jacksonville Jaguars, likely the NFL’s premier defensive unit, was only able to stop the Steelers for some time before Pittsburgh started fighting back.
It may be a hard truth to face, but the Browns had better be prepared for a whacking at the hand of the Steelers. They might have a chance in this one, but it’s very slim. Needless to say, it will be exceedingly difficult to take this one home to Cleveland.
1. Week 2 @ New Orleans Saints
Oh boy, this one could get ugly. The Browns are still a burgeoning group, while the Saints’ window is bolstered open due to an explosive offense and a shut-down defensive unit. Additionally, Cleveland has to travel to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, one of the NFL’s loudest stadiums.
Tyrod Taylor will have to fight back against a defensive unit with Cameron Jordan, Marshon Lattimore, Sheldon Rankins, and Vonn Bell, just to name a few. On the other side, Cleveland’s defense will have to hold back Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, Michael Thomas, and a studly offensive line.
Browns fans, don’t expect your team to be able to win this one. If they can, that’s great! But in all honesty, it is…incredibly unlikely. The Saints are a juggernaut of the NFC, as well as a Super Bowl hopeful, and for the Browns to just keep this game close would mean huge things for such a young team.