What seems to become a night to circle down on sports fans’ schedules, mainly football fans, is the NFL Schedule Release. Last night, fans around the league found out who their teams play in the first-ever 17-game regular-season schedule. Some teams got a couple of national tv games either on Monday Night, Thursday Night, and/or Sunday Night football. For the Cleveland Browns, Browns fans can be excited for a schedule that could see the team make the playoffs. Let’s begin the breakdown of the 2021 Cleveland Browns Schedule:
At first glance, the 2021 Cleveland Browns schedule seems to be one that is manageable for the Browns. They could easily be going back-to-back seasons with double-digit wins. The Browns’ first nationally televised game will come in week 7 against the Denver Broncos in Cleveland. That’s followed up by a Sunday Night Football game in Baltimore in week 12, and a Monday night game at Pittsburgh in week 17. The Browns fans could really be interested in the Week 1 matchup against the reigning AFC Champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. They will also like the Christmas Day matchup against the Green Bay Packers in Green Day in week 16.
The week 1 showdown against the Kansas City Chiefs in many eyes around the league will be an intriguing one. Earlier this year, the AFC Divisional Round game between the two came down to the last few minutes. After a crazy game, the Chiefs did eventually win 22-17. During that game, there were many questionable calls that changed the outcome. Most notably the blatant helmet-to-helmet non-call that had Rashard Higgins lose the ball at the goal line. It should be safe to say that the Cleveland Browns, and their fans, are looking for revenge against Kansas City. That week 1 game could come down to the wire where both teams’ fanbases won’t be too upset on who starts the season 0-1.
From the week 1 game against the Chiefs to the week 12 Monday Night football game versus the Baltimore Ravens, the Cleveland Browns could go on a massive run that could see them winning at the most 10 games. The team faces the Houston Texans, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, San Diego Chargers, Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos (Thursday Night Football), Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals, New England Patriots, and the Detroit Lions in that span. All of those games, even the home game week 8 versus Pittsburgh, are very winnable. This could lead the Cleveland Browns to possibly start the season at the most 10-1 (possibly 11-0 or 9-2 at the worst with a close game against the Cardinals).
That would be a dream start for the team when going into the week 12 Monday Night Football game. The week 12 game could see the Browns lose their potential second game of the season versus Baltimore in a close game. Both teams got better in the off-season between free agency (so far), and the 2021 NFL Draft. Honestly, the Browns and the Ravens will once again split the season series because both teams are good enough to beat each other.
That could send the Browns into the week 13 bye week with a possible record of 10-2 at best. They could possibly be 9-3 at the worst (possible losses against Kansas City, Arizona, and Baltimore). After that, the Browns could come back to split the season with the Baltimore Ravens in week 14.
The week 15 matchup with the Las Vegas Raiders could be an interesting one because of possible scheduling. The game could either be played on Saturday or Sunday, December 18th or 19th. The last couple of times these two teams have played crazy things have happened. It was either due to bad officiating like in 2018 in Oakland or bad weather like in 2020. The week 15 game could give the Browns a chance to get the monkey off their back against Las Vegas. It would be nice to see the Browns win after those last two wild showdowns with the Raiders.
Christmas Day Showdown
One can imagine that many people circled the Christmas Day showdown between the Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers. This was slated as one of the must-watch games this season. The possibility of a Baker Mayfield versus an Aaron Rodgers showdown in Lambeau Field on a snowy Christmas Day could give an old-school vibe. Given the Packers are pretty much unbeatable at Lambeau in the latter months of the season, this could be decided on a very last drive or second score for either team to win. Honestly, this could be a game the Browns steal from the Packers. This could give Browns fans a Christmas gift while giving the Packers, and their fans, coal in their stockings.
Winding Down the 2021 Season
The last two games of the season will see the Cleveland Browns split the season series with the Pittsburgh Steelers. They will be in Pittsburgh during week 17 and finish the season against the Cincinnati Bengals in Cleveland. This could be a stellar season for the team that could be making the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1988, and 1989.
2021 Season Record Prediction
Now it comes down to what people have been waiting to see. What could the Cleveland Browns record be for the 2021 regular season? Here it is:
Season Record Prediction: 13-4
Wins: Houston Texans, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, San Diego Chargers, Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers (home), Cincinnati Bengals (2x), New England Patriots, Detroit Lions, Baltimore Ravens (home), and Green Bay Packers
Loss: Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens (MNF, road), Pittsburgh Steelers (road), and Las Vegas Raiders
The Cleveland Browns have a chance to possibly win the AFC North with a possible 13-4 schedule. The vast majority of those games during the 2021 schedule are manageable. They can go on a massive winning streak and beat teams that they should win against. Seasons split with Pittsburgh, and Baltimore is pretty much inevitable as all three teams could make the playoffs against. Overall, Cleveland Browns fans should really enjoy what’s in store for the 2021 season with this rendition of the team. The only things left to do are wait and get ready for one heck of a season on the shores of Lake Erie and First Energy stadium.
My name is Zach Martin, and I am the Cleveland Browns beat writer for Belly Up Sports and Belly Up Football. Follow me on Twitter for the most up to date Blackhawks content and news (twitter.com/CLEZach). I’m a co-host on a hockey podcast, Cannons & Tomahawks, that talks about all things NHL. Furthermore, I’m a host of the Cleveland Browns Podcast, Bless ‘Em Browns, that covers everything Cleveland Browns football.