Since this is a very snowy and frigid morning, and I am bored - I thought I would break the boredom by playing Nostradamus with the Browns' 2019 schedule. I know that the official schedule release won't be until the week before the draft, so I thought this might be fun to do now. That way, we can look back in April and see how far off I was (likely) - or in January to see how erroneous my projections were (almost a certainty - LOL).
Remember, folks, this is just a wild stab at what MIGHT be - anyone else is welcome to follow suit.
Here is what is known to this point about our schedule:
So here we go with the meat and potatoes of my boredom:
There have been a few media outlets that have leaked that ESPN is looking hard at this game as the second game of the season opening MNF doubleheader. ESPN cannot wait for the inevitable "death stare" that Baker will give new Cardinals' head coach Kliff Kingsbury due to their history. In the opening act of Mayfield vs. Rosen, the Browns release a full offseason of anticipation on the Cardinals. Steve Wilks is bound and determined to show the Bidwells they were wrong. The Browns play a complete game and rout the Birds 45-13.
The memory of the Browns effectively ending their season last year in week 15 is still fresh in the Broncos' mind. This will be the national TV GOTW at 4:25 - and the Broncos avenge last year's loss with a final fourth quarter GW TD drive that nets them a 21-17 victory.
The Browns return home and play a solid all around game - and spoil Titans' HC Mike Vrabel's return to his NE Ohio roots (Walsh Jesuit). In a no frills contest, the Browns grind out a well earned 23-19 victory.
at New York Jets
This game will be eerily similar to last year's game in Cleveland. The Jets have their way with the Browns in the first half, and dominate them 17-7 at recess. But Baker figures it out at halftime. He puts an immediate third quarter TD on the board. The defense is pumped by this and give the offense a short field for their next TD, and Ward seals it with a pick six. 28-17.
LOS ANGELES RAMS (Monday Night)
The Browns are full of confidence, back home to host our first Monday Night game in forever, the crowd is pumped - until the game starts. These are the Los Angeles Rams. Jared Goff and their high flying offense show the Browns how far they still have to go. Rams dominate 35-17. And it could have been worse. Ouch.
Divisional play starts. The Browns come into this game knowing that if they ever want to be considered legitimate - this is the game they MUST win. In a typical AFC North slugfest, Baker picks himself up off the grass one last time in the fourth quarter, drives his team down, and new kicker Matt Gay boots it between the pipes as the gun goes off for a 23-20 win.
The Bengals come to town with a new coach and a team in transition. The home team takes full advantage - and removes all doubt early. Bengals are never in this one as the Browns cruise to a 37-17 victory, and look forward to the upcoming bye.
Time to rest up
The Browns know they let one slip through their hands last year in Week 17 last year on this very soil. Baker wills his team, in this Sunday Night GOTW, to a 26-13 lead - then hold off Lamar and the Ravens in the fourth quarter for a 26-20 win.
The Browns are guilty of feeling too good about themselves after consecutive divisional victories, and the inevitable hangover from the shorter week. In a surprising low scoring game, the Seahawks eke out a 17-13 victory.
at New England
Love them or hate them (I choose the latter), the Patriots are still a force to be reckoned with. Especially in Foxboro. Tom Brady has forgotten more about that offense than any of us could hope to learn. In a remarkably dull game, the Patriots dominate the Browns. Baker gets a late TD to make the score much closer than the game was - 28-17.
Divisional play returns, but for the first time this year - the Browns are facing real adversity. The Ravens are fighting for a playoff spot themselves. in a game that is as physical as you would expect from an AFC North slugfest, the Ravens put the Browns season on the ropes with a 24-21 haymaker.
Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield hold the shootout that the NFL is hoping for when this game hit the schedule. Fox wants this for the Thursday night GOTW. Browns prove they are just a bit more of a complete team, as they unleash 3 weeks of frustration and hold off the Bills 28-21.
For far too many years, the Browns were in the Bengals current predicament. Fresh off a "mini bye" the Browns are refreshed and come out with both barrels blazing. They also stomp on the throat of our in state rivals and dump the kitties with a convincing 28-7 rout.
An unexpected bonus in the schedule. A team from the sweltering south must travel north of the Mason Dixon Line to deal with the outdoor elements of the Great Lakes in November. The home team will not ask twice about this bonus - however, this game is much closer than anticipated. In the end, the Browns are victorious 17-15.
at San Francisco
The Browns final road trip of the regular season is a long one - to the West Coast to face the 49ers on a Saturday Night national TV GOTW. This game is hyped, but the Browns cannot do what they need to - win and clinch a playoff spot. Jimmy G has the Niners humming, and they prevail 26-23.
So here we are. Both teams hate each other. Both teams need a win to make the playoffs. The snow flurries are in the air, the ground is hard - it will be a typical AFC North knucklebuster for the division title. Both teams trade haymakers. With just over two minutes to go in the game, the Browns hols a 20-19 lead. They have the ball facing a critical 3rd and 4 on their own 39 yard line. The play has worked all day, so it's Chubb off right tackle. But TJ Watt comes out of nowhere and stuffs Chubb. The Browns punt. The Steelers take possession on their 10 with 1:54 remaining and no time outs left. In what possibly is his last game at First Energy Stadium, Roethlisberger prepares the dagger one last time for the Browns. The Browns play incredible defense on the drive and yet the Steelers seem to wiggle off the hook...........
0:23 to go - 4th and 5 at midfield - Ben with the shotgun snap - he looks and floats one..... pass is tipped, but somehow COMPLETED... Peppers makes a game saving tackle at the 22. Steelers frantically rush to the line and get the snap spiked - with just 4 ticks left in the season for someone. The Steelers will line up for a season extending FG of 39 yards. Their kicker is perfect on the season from 40 yards and closer. The teams line up, the snap is back ball is down....................
And there is a flash from around the corner! Denzel Ward uses the last drop of energy he has on this day to clear the corner and go full horizontal......... He feels something hit his fingers as his speeding body crashes to the semifrozen turf. He is able to turn his head just far enough to see that what hit his fingers was the ball, and it has been redirected to just outside the right upright.
Ward never remembered getting mobbed by his teammates in the next 5 seconds - but the bottom line was.............
THE BROWNS ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS!!!!