The NFL unveiled the 2023 schedule back in May. The Cleveland Browns have a variety of exciting matchups on their schedule for this season. Cleveland will take on their AFC North division rivals, the entire NFC West & AFC South, as well as a rematch of Week 2’s epic collapsing loss against the New York Jets.
In terms of matchups, there are three that stand out. In terms of interest, these games could have major implications in terms of playoff seeding or potential postseason matchups depending on how the season pans out for both sides.
Week 1 vs Cincinnati Bengals (September 10th, 1:00 PM EST on CBS)
The Battle of Ohio rivalry has officially been renewed. It seems as if the rivalry has been brewing for quite some time, now the two teams will open the season against one another.
For Cleveland, they will start with three straight AFC North divisional opponents and the Bengals is the first test. We are familiar with Cincinnati and what this team is capable of. Offensively, quarterback Joe Burrow is still there, same goes for the wide receiver trio of Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins & Tyler Boyd.
Defensively, it’s one of the most underrated units in the league with solid contributors across the board but will see a transition in the secondary. The new-look Browns offense with quarterback Deshaun Watson under center & revamped receiver corps, alongside a potent rushing attack led by running back Nick Chubb, lines up for potential fireworks for the opening week of the season.
Week 6 vs San Francisco 49ers (October 15th 1:00 PM EST on FOX)
Potential Super Bowl preview? Possibly.
It’s unfortunate that this game will not be on the main late-game doubleheader for the NFL on Fox’s “America’s Game of the Week” (Philadelphia Eagles versus the New York Jets will be the main game) because this game would be very interesting.
Two teams that possess potent running games, the 49ers with running back Christian McCaffrey and Cleveland’s Chubb.
Defensively, both the Browns and the 49ers have potential Defensive Player of the Year candidates in Nick Bosa and Myles Garrett.
As far as coaching, head coach Kyle Shanahan has a history with Cleveland considering how he was on the Browns coaching staff in his lone season in 2014 and San Francisco’s defensive coordinator Steve Wilks was on the Cleveland staff in 2019.
The quarterback situation for the 49ers is up in the air, it could be either Trey Lance, Brock Purdy, or Sam Darnold starting. If Lance were to be the starter by the time this matchup rolls around, it would be a bit more exciting but Purdy is the front-runner for the job. Cleveland’s defense will face a stiff test against the Niners offense regardless of who is the quarterback.
Offensively, watching the Browns offensive line, which is a top 10 unit in the league, going up against one of the best defensive lines in the NFL will be an absolute war.
Week 8 vs Seattle Seahawks (October 29th 4:05 EST on FOX)
In terms of how these teams look on paper, both teams are arguably better than they were last season. Seattle might have one of the most well-rounded wide receiver trios in the league with wide receivers D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Cleveland has a quality cornerback trio led by cornerbacks Denzel Ward, Greg Newsome and Martin Emerson. Exciting matchups across the board in terms of WR vs CB battles.
At quarterback, Seattle’s Geno Smith is capable of being a starter in this league as he showcased last year. The last time Watson faced the Seahawks, he almost won in Seattle back in 2018 when he was with the Houston Texans.
The last time Cleveland traveled to the Pacific Northwest to play the Seahawks was in 2015. It didn’t go well. Lumen Field might not be the same as it once was in the past but this is still a tough place to play in. It is one of the loudest stadiums in the entire league so be prepared for plenty of silent counts whenever Cleveland’s offense is on the field. This is one of the most underrated matchups of this NFL season.
What game are you most excited for this season for the Browns?