According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Cleveland Browns are 1.5 point underdogs against the Panthers on Sunday. Here is what the national media is saying about the Week 1 game between the Carolina Panthers and the Cleveland Browns:
CBS Sports (John Breech) - Panthers 19, Browns 16
I have no idea what Baker Mayfield did this offseason, but my guess is that he spent the past eight weeks sitting in a dark room watching film on the Browns so that he’ll be able to destroy them. He might also have snuck in a viewing or two of “The Princess Bride,” but I can’t say for sure.
Although the Panthers weren’t a great team last year, they actually have a pretty stacked roster. Not only is Christian McCaffrey finally healthy, but they upgraded at two key positions on the offensive line with the additions of Bradley Bozeman (center) and Austin Corbett (guard).
I will admit that I thought briefly about picking the Browns in this game, but then I remembered that they haven’t won a regular season opener SINCE 2004! In the 17 seasons since then, they’ve gone 0-16-1 in openers. (To put this in perspective, every other NFL team has won at least FIVE openers in that span). Basically, I feel like it’s in my best interest to keep picking against the Browns in every opener they play for the rest of time.
Sporting News (Vinnie Iyer) - Browns 20, Panthers 17
Lost in the whole drama surrounding Deshaun Watson’s suspension is the fact the Browns remain a super-talented team away from quarterback. They will lean on their strong blocking and deep running game featuring Nick Chubb to facilitate Jacoby Brissett’s first start.
Baker Mayfield has the spotlight facing his former team in his first game starting with his new team, but the No. 1 overall pick that preceded him in Cleveland will be the true star of the game. Myles Garrett will wreak havoc with great front seven support and the secondary ready to clean up after the Panthers don’t get the desired results from their own run-heavy style with Christian McCaffrey.
Sporting News (Bill Bender) - Browns 22, Panthers 20
The Baker Mayfield Bowl is here. The Browns are relying on Jacoby Brissett through the Deshaun Watson suspension, and the potential headlines if Mayfield beats his former team will be off the charts. Nick Chubb, however, will lead a ground-heavy attack and Myles Garrett comes up with the strip sack in crunch time. Cleveland holds off the potential embarrassment, but not by much.
Below are our Week 1 NFL staff picks: