Browns Schedule: Predicting marquee games, home opener in 2022

CLEVELAND, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 26: Cleveland Browns fans in the stands during the game against the Chicago Bears at FirstEnergy Stadium on September 26, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 26: Cleveland Browns fans in the stands during the game against the Chicago Bears at FirstEnergy Stadium on September 26, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

With everything that happened in the offseason, it makes some of the games on the 2022 Browns schedule that much more intriguing and exciting.

There are so many aspects of the sports world that one could analyze. One of those aspects that are especially fun to analyze is taking a look at the list of opponents the Cleveland Browns have for the upcoming season and predicting when certain games are going to happen.

Given the number of moves that have happened and how much money has been passed out, you could make a solid argument that this has been the craziest offseason in NFL history. Two of the moves that happened in this insane offseason were the Browns trading for quarterback Deshaun Watson and the Miami Dolphins trading for wide receiver Tyreek Hill.

The NFL has a track record of putting high profile matchups early in the season. For instance, just this past season, the rematch between Cleveland and Kansas City took place in Week 1 and Brady’s return to New England happened in Week 4. Based on that, I’m predicting that the Browns will open their season at HardRock Stadium against the Miami Dolphins.

The NFL also loves to put high profile quarterback matchups in the marquee game of the week. Usually, that means the game is in the 4:00 window or it’s in primetime (Thursday Night Football, Sunday Night Football, or Monday Night Football). When the Browns go to western New York to take on the Buffalo Bills this season, we’ll get a marquee quarterback matchup.

Cleveland’s Deshaun Watson will take on Buffalo’s Josh  Allen. Since this could be a possible playoff preview, I think this game will happen in Week 9 and it will be on Sunday Night Football.

Ok, so that’s a couple of road games against the AFC East. But what about the home opener and some other marquee home games? That’s a fair question and it will be answered.

Predicting the Cleveland Browns schedule: Home Opener

In terms of the home opener, don’t be surprised if it’s similar to what happened last season. In Week 1, the Browns had a high-profile matchup against Kansas City, then the home opener the following week was against the Houston Texans (which on paper felt like a get-right game). I think it will be the same type of thing this season.

As stated above, I’m predicting that the Browns will open the season against the Miami Dolphins in Miami. So for the home opener the following week, I think it will be the New York Jets coming to town. While there’s no such thing as an “easy game” in the NFL, playing the Jets in  Week 2 would give the Browns a great chance to get back on track if they lose against Miami in Week 1.

Amidst all of the moves that happened during the craziest offseason ever, “The GOAT” Tom Brady decided to un-retire and come back for another season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It just so happens the Browns will be hosting the Buccaneers this season as the AFC North plays the NFC South.

Since Tampa Bay and Cleveland are both projected to be top contenders in their respective conferences, I’m predicting that this game will be on Monday Night Football and will happen in Week 6. This game will begin the prove-it stretch of the season for the Browns.

Speaking of the prove-it stretch, in Week 8 I’m predicting that this is when the Browns will get the first shot against their in-state division rival and the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals. This is yet another marquee quarterback matchup as Watson squares off with Joe Burrow in “The Jungle” down in Cincinnati.

This game could potentially be on Thursday Night Football (which I believe the NFL needs to get rid of). However, I think the Bengals are going to be on a lot of primetime games. So, this game will instead be in the 4:30 window and it will be on CBS with Jim Nantz and Tony Romo on the call.

Last season, the Browns hosted the Bengals in Week 18 of the season. If things had gone a little bit differently for the Browns, that game could’ve possibly been for the AFC North division crown. This season, I think the division title will be on the line. But it won’t just be the division title on the line, playoff positioning will also be on the line. As a result, this game will be flexed into Sunday Night Football and be the last game of the season.

Now in my humble opinion, the Baltimore Ravens have replaced the Pittsburgh Steelers as the Browns’ primary rival. Thus, there’s absolutely no way that either matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns will be at 1:00. Especially because you’ve got Lamar Jackson against Deshaun Waston.

At least one of these two games between Baltimore and Cleveland is going to be primetime. Although the Browns lost against the Ravens 47-42 in Week 14 of the 2020 season, it was an absolutely fantastic game with a gut-wrenching ending.

How about Week 17 of the 2018 season? That was an absolutely thrilling and fantastic game. These two teams are bitter rivals, which only adds to the excitement. Since the primetime last year was in Baltimore late in the season, I think it will once again be late in the season (Week 13) but this time it will be at FirstEnergy Stadium. But the first game will be in Baltimore in Week 4 at 4:00 on FOX.

As for the Pittsburgh Steelers, I think both games will be at 1:00. Although the rivalry still exists in many people’s eyes, it doesn’t to me. Plus the quarterback matchup between Watson and Mitchell Trubisky isn’t that intriguing. So I think that the first game will be Week 5 in Pittsburgh and the rematch will be Week 11 in Cleveland.

2 more Cleveland Browns schedule predictions

Since the AFC North is playing the NFC South, that means the Browns will be heading down to Charlotte, North Carolina to take on the Carolina Panthers.

On paper, this might not seem like an intriguing matchup. However, I think this will be a very interesting showdown. Although we don’t know who the quarterback is going to be for Carolina, we do know that they’re going to have running back Christian McCaffrey in the backfield.

The Browns have Nick Chubb in their backfield. That’s an intriguing matchup. This game feels like a Week 7, 1:00 matchup.

The last matchup I want to try and predict is the game against an old nemesis, Bill Belichick. Since the New England Patriots was a playoff team last season, the NFL is probably going to believe that they can get back there again.

They also know that the Browns are projected to be a perennial contender this season. Plus you always have the storyline of Bill Belichick going against the Browns. Thus this game will be in the 4:00 window on CBS with Jim Nantz and Tony Romo on commentary. It will take place at FirstEnergy Stadium in Week 12.

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There are so many aspects of sports that you can analyze. Every day, it seems like you can find something new to analyze. But for me, looking at the list of opponents and predicting when certain games are happening is one of my favorites.