The Cleveland Browns are expected to reach the playoffs in 2019, and a big reason for that is because of what their schedule looks like.
The Cleveland Browns will be dealing with a lot of expectations during the 2019 season, most notably how they are expected to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
The way the Browns are expected to reach the playoffs is by winning the AFC North division crown. After showing plenty of development last season and finishing third in the division, the Browns made the most improvements during the offseason compared to the rest of the division.
With the additions of Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, and Sheldon Richardson, the Browns are viewed as the favorites in the division. And with the Ravens and Steelers losing several key players this offseason, the Browns are positioned well to be at the top of the AFC North.
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But another reason why the Browns are viewed as the favorites to win the division is because of how their schedule shakes out in 2019. According to John Breech of CBS Sports, the Browns have the easiest schedule in the AFC North, and even one of the easiest in the league.
"According to our formula, not only do the Browns have the easiest schedule in the AFC North this season, but they also have the fourth-easiest schedule in the entire NFL. With the regular season still three months away, you might be wondering how we already know that the Browns have the fourth-easiest schedule, and that’s because we went ahead and ranked all 32 schedules. – Breech, CBS Sports"
The Browns will have multiple marquee match-ups during the season, including a home game on Sunday Night Football against the Los Angeles Rams and a road game against the New England Patriots. These games against last year’s Super Bowl teams bookend a tough stretch of the schedule for the Browns, which includes two more games against playoff teams from last season.
But even if the Browns falter during this stretch in the middle of the season and are behind in the division, they will have a strong chance to recover at the end of the season. Cleveland will face the Cincinnati Bengals, who the Browns defeated by a combined score of 61-38 last season, twice in the final four games, which also includes a game against the Cardinals, who finished with the worst record in the league last season.
With all of the expectations surrounding them, the Browns are going to have quiet the outside noise so they can play to their potential in 2019 to reach the playoffs. But if CBS’ formula is correct, the Browns may not have as difficult of a path to make the postseason.