The Cleveland Browns are looking to close out the 2018 NFL season on a high note after Sunday’s defeat of the Carolina Panthers.
And while there may not be any substance to the idea that late-season success carries over into the next year, the NFL schedule makers may be willing to give the Browns some national exposure in 2019.
In his weekly Football Morning in America column, Peter King speculates that the Browns may be in line for four primetime games next season:
Prediction of the Week: The Browns will have four prime-time games next year. They’re fun, they’re dangerous to play, they’ve got an exciting quarterback, and they should have an exciting young coach. Cleveland finishes thusly: at Denver, Cincinnati, at Baltimore. Imagine a 7-8-1 record. Winning two of their last three would do it.
It is important to remember that King is not part of the league’s scheduling process and has no influence over the decision makers, but it certainly seems plausible that the Browns will be a national story next season.
The schedule provides some enticing games, starting with the annual home-and-home contests with the Pittsburgh Steelers. If the rumors are to be believed, the Cincinnati Bengals are considering turning the team over to Hue Jackson next year - he of the .205 career winning percentage - so Jackson’s return to Cleveland as a head coach could be an appealing story line.
Looking outside the division, the Browns will play the AFC East and the New England Patriots are always a national television attraction. Cleveland will also take on the NFC West, so a matchup with the Los Angeles Rams and quarterback Jared Goff, or the San Francisco 49ers with quarterback Jimmy Garropolo, might be too good to pass up.
There are still games to be played this season before the Browns and their fans can turn their gaze to 2019.
But the Browns are clearly on the rise and the national television cameras may be poised to share that ascension with the rest of the country.