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Can Browns continue Week 1 magic this year?

Cleveland finally broke its opening day losing streak last season. Will the Bengals be the next in line?

Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns have posted some interesting and at times hard-to-believe numbers since returning to the NFL in 1999.

From only three winning seasons in 24 years, 17 seasons with double-digit losses, 34 different quarterbacks, 10 different full-time head coaches, and an 0-16 season that fueled Hue Jackson’s run as the worst head coach in NFL history, this franchise has given its fans more moments that they can never unsee than seems possible.

One of the strangest streaks began innocently enough on September 11, 2005, when the Browns dropped the opening game of the season to the Cincinnati Bengals by a score of 27-13. Little did anyone know that day would be the start of a run of 18 consecutive seasons without a win in the first week of the season.

There were several near misses, of course, among them a three-point loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2010, a one-point loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012, three-point losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2014 and 2017, a tie with the Steelers in 2018, and a four-point loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2021.

The Browns finally broke through last season when they defeated the Carolina Panthers on Cade York’s 58-yard field goal with seconds remaining on the game clock. (In an ironic twist befitting the team’s Week 1 woes, that turned out to be the highlight of York’s tenure in Cleveland as he is now a member of the Tennessee Titans’ practice squad.)

Fast forward a year and the Browns have the opportunity to accomplish something the franchise has not done since 1994, which is win the first game of the season in consecutive seasons.

Interestingly enough, those back-to-back wins in 1993 and 1994 came against the Bengals, who will be visiting Cleveland Browns Stadium for this season’s opening game.

It may appear at first blush that Cleveland’s streak will once again die given that the Bengals are mentioned as one of the teams that will be in contention for the Super Bowl this season, which would break the franchise’s streak of never winning a title in 56 years of existence.

But sticking with the theme of inexplicable streaks, the Browns have taken firm control of the series with the Bengals in recent years. Dating back to the 2018 season, the Browns have won eight of the last 10 matchups with the Bengals and five in a row at home.

That streak includes four wins in five games started by Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow, who has thrown five interceptions and taken 18 sacks against the Browns.

It may be hard to process, but given the recent history between the two teams playing the Bengals at home may be the perfect matchup for the Browns to open the season with a victory for the second consecutive season.

Do you have a favorite Browns Week 1 memory? Share it in the comments below!