It’s only mid-May. Plenty can still change ahead of the kick-off to the 2020 NFL season this fall, assuming it does in fact happen. The NFL Draft is over, but free agents can still sign with teams, trades can take place, and anything in between.
That said, strength of schedule in the NFL is a well-talked about subject ahead of the season. Many seem to think that the prior year’s record for each team should be what determines a team’s strength of schedule. But, honestly, that shouldn’t be the case. Each team both loses and adds a number of players, whether they be starters or just for depth purposes. That makes it tough to judge a team by a previous record, even if it just one year removed from said record.
So, luckily for us, Warren Sharp did the work for us at SharpFootball.com. For the Cleveland Browns, it’s certainly good news: As of right now, they have the third-easiest schedule in the NFL. The top-five easiest schedules: Indianapolis Colts (by a long shot), Tennessee Titans, Browns, Baltimore Ravens, and Los Angeles Chargers. For those curious, this is where the AFC North stands: Browns (No. 3), Ravens (4), Steelers (7), and Cincinnati Bengals (22).
That’s certainly a good thing, right? We can play the Schedule Game and predict all the records and whatnot, but Vegas, knows…right? The numbers don’t lie. While starting the season in Baltimore against one of the best teams in the league followed up by a home opener on a short week against the Bengals on Thursday night, it’s a tough start. Yet, as seen above, the Browns still have a very favorable schedule.
In fact, Week 1 is the Browns’ toughest game of the season, with the Ravens over/under set at 11.5 Besides the two games against Baltimore, the Browns don’t play another team that is projected to win more than 10 games as of right now. To break it down even more, they have six games against teams projected to win between 8.6 and 9.7 games, four games against teams projected to win between 6.3 and 7.6 games, and four games against teams projected to win less than 5.5 games.
The two games against Baltimore will certainly be tough, especially when you consider the one in Baltimore is the home opener and the home game against the Ravens is a Monday night tilt in Week 14, but one big thing to look keep in mind is that the two games following each matchup against the reigning AFC North champions are (and should be) very favorable for the Browns.
Kevin Stefanski is a first-year head coach, but so far this offseason, the new-look front office has used salary cap and the draft to improve this team, especially an offensive line that needed to be rebuilt, at least at each tackle position. Pair that with Baker Mayfield being given a couple of new weapons outside and Stefanski’s offense very favorable to a quarterback like Mayfield, and, well, this is all starting to come together very nicely. The schedule is just another plus. Only time will tell, but everything seems to be lining up for the Browns this fall.
Now, let’s just hope that there’s actually an NFL season. Sports fans need it. The Dawg Pound needs it. If the schedule and Vegas tell us anything, it’s that the Browns need it as well.