With four prime-time games scheduled for the 2019 season, the Cleveland Browns are finally getting the national spotlight.
The annual NFL schedule release is always an anticipated event. While fans already know who their favorite teams are playing well in advance, it’s all about when. Typically, the prime-time games are the ones you circle as the most anticipated matchups of the week.
In 2019, ten teams are currently scheduled to play under the lights on five separate occasions. Those teams include the Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs, Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, and Los Angeles Rams.
With the NFL flex scheduling rules in place, some games in the second half of the season could get booted from Sunday night to earlier in the day. Teams like the Vikings or Steelers might be prime candidates to get flexed out, but that’s a discussion for later.
One team getting some love, and deservedly so, is the Cleveland Browns. While they don’t have five like the aforementioned teams, they’ll hit prime-time on four separate occasions. The offseason John Dorsey has orchestrated thus far tells the story why.
An Offseason For the Ages
It all starts with the arrival of Odell Beckham Jr. A player many would’ve tabbed as untradeable, Dorsey pulled it off. He’s joining an offense with the likes of Baker Mayfield, last year’s first overall pick in the NFL Draft, and his college teammate and best friend, Jarvis Landry. It doesn’t stop there on the offensive side of the ball, however; running back Kareem Hunt was added to a stable of running backs that already include Duke Johnson and last year’s second-round pick Nick Chubb.
The star power that Cleveland lacked for so many years is now there. The swagger is there. And they’re early favorites to win the AFC North for the first time since 1989.
On the defensive side of the ball, Dorsey traded for Olivier Vernon and signed Sheldon Richardson this offseason. They will join one of the top five edge rushers in the league in Myles Garrett. And Denzel Ward, who was selected just a few spots after Mayfield, is one of the best young corners in the league.
Browns Primetime Games
Fans are excited to see what this new-look Browns franchise looks like on the field, and we don’t have to wait long. They kick off their prime-time games on the road in week two on Monday Night Football against the New York Jets.
At first glance, this is a favorable matchup because of the quarterbacks: Mayfield vs. Sam Darnold. The two met last year in week three when Mayfield came off the bench and led the Browns to their first victory since the 2017 season. It also has a historical factor, a nod to the NFL celebrating their 100th season. Fifty years ago, the Jets and Browns were the first teams to ever play on Monday night. The Browns would go on to win the game, 31-21.
Cleveland, who has a 15-15 record on Monday night football, is playing on the road for the first time on Monday night since the 2008 season. They do the same in week five against the San Francisco 49ers, but that’s after a home Sunday night game against the defending NFC Champion Rams. For now, they end their prime-time schedule in week 11 against the Steelers on Thursday night.
What are your thoughts on the Browns prime-time schedule for 2019?
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