Week 2 of the NFL schedule is over for 28 teams due to the rare two-game Monday Night Football schedule on tap tonight. While a vast majority of the NFL are closing the book on their second game and starting to look ahead to Week 3, the Cleveland Browns face an important test against the Pittsburgh Steelers tonight.
For the Browns, there is a big difference between being 2-0 with two wins against AFC North opponents and being 1-1. For the Steelers, being 0-2 with both losses coming at home to start the season could be deflating.
While we can’t wait for tonight’s AFC North tilt, we can also look ahead for the sake of fans to what the future holds.
When the NFL schedule comes out, there are a variety of ways for it to be evaluated. Unfortunately, none of those can predict injuries, poor performances or fluke game outcomes. Instead, evaluating Cleveland’s schedule as the season goes along is a far more accurate way of breaking things down.
The next four weeks, which includes the Browns bye week (way too early in the season), could be a tough test:
Week 3: Tennessee Titans (1-1)
It may not be smoke and mirrors but looking at the Titans offensive numbers raise questions about how they were in either game:
- Ryan Tannehill - 444 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs
- Derrick Henry - 143 rushing yards, 1 TD
- DeAndre Hopkins - 105 receiving yards
Those are Tennessee’s leading passer, rusher and receiver. The defense hasn’t been great either, giving up over 350 yards a game with two turnovers forced.
In the end, Vrabel’s squad just gets it done and will face Cleveland on a short week after what is expected to be a physical game against Pittsburgh.
Week 4: Baltimore Ravens (2-0)
Despite loads of injuries, again, and breaking in a new offensive system, Baltimore is undefeated early in the year. QB Lamar Jackson is completing 75% of his passes while still running the ball well (the team’s second-leading rusher).
The Ravens defense has gotten six sacks from six different players on a unit that is greater than the sum of their parts.
Coming off back-to-back physical games, the Browns will have their hands full with the versatile weapons Baltimore has on offense and that creative team defense.
Week 5: Bye Week
Week 6: San Francisco 49ers (2-0)
The Niners demolished the Steelers in Week 1 which will give an interesting comparison point when they travel to Cleveland in a month.
After taking out Pittsburgh, San Francisco struggled a little against division rival Los Angeles Rams. That is not uncommon when facing a foe you are familiar with but something to note. QB Brock Purdy has been safe with the ball after returning from last year’s elbow injury sooner than most thought.
RB Christian McCaffrey and the 49ers defense are the stars of the show. CMC, currently, leads the NFL in rushing by over 60 yards through just two games (Nick Chubb would need over 160 yards tonight to pass him). While “only” have six sacks, their defense has pressured the quarterback in both games and has four interceptions.
Through two weeks, teams have only attempted 10 rushes for 41 yards against San Francisco’s defense.
The Browns have to get through Monday Night Football before they can start focusing on the Titans and beyond. For Cleveland fans, it is interesting to look ahead to see what is coming down the road.
Which of the next three matchups worries you the most for the Browns?